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Dangers of radon exposure include lung cancer, say health professionals

Jan. 2, 2013 |

WASHINGTON, D.C. – January is Radon Action Month, according to the Surgeon General. Health agencies throughout the United States have joined forces to promote awareness of the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. The American Lung Association, Centers for Disease Control, and National Cancer Institute all agree that radon is a national health problem and encourage radon testing during the January awareness drive. Radon is a naturally-occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas. One in 15 American homes contains high levels of radon. Millions of Americans are unknowingly exposed to this dangerous gas. In fact, a recent study by Harvard University ranked radon as America's No. 1 in-home hazard. By taking simple steps to test a home for radon and fix if necessary, this health hazard can be avoided. Radon gas is not isolated to certain geographical areas or home types. Radon problems have been detected in homes in every county of the United States. It caused more American fatalities last year than carbon monoxide, fires, and handguns combined. If a home hasn't been tested for radon in the past two years, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Surgeon General urge homeowners to take action. Contact the state's radon office for information on locating qualified test kits or radon testers. The federal commitment made by the EPA, the General Services Administration, and departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Veterans Affairs will focus efforts on radon reduction and mitigation in homes, especially those of low-income families, many of whom do not have the resources to make the simple fixes necessary to protect their homes and loved ones. Learn more about the Federal Radon Action Plan at www.RadonPlan.org. Last year, the federal consortium met with key leaders in the public health, environmental and private sectors to launch the Federal Radon Action Plan that includes both immediate and long-term steps to reduce radon exposure. For more information, visit www.RadonMonth.org.

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