EPA trying to raise awareness about cancer-causing radon

EPA trying to raise awareness about cancer-causing radon

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to raise awareness about radon, an odorless and colorless gas that has become the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.

Radon is a noble gas, occurring naturally as a decay product of radium. It is widely considered a health hazard because of its radioactivity. Various studies have linked it to the potentially deadly disease of lung cancer.

As radon is considered a significant contaminant affecting indoor air quality, the EPA is urging people to check their homes for this gas. The federal agency says everyone must test their homes for this gas, and if they found high levels of the gas, they should install a radon mitigation system.

In Somerset, county officials have partnered with the Board of Chosen Freeholders, Greater Somerset Public Health Partnership and the Regional Chronic Disease/Cancer Coalition (RCDC) of Morris to recognize January as Radon Awareness Month.

Freeholder Deputy Director Peter S. Palmer said, “Somerset County is committed to increasing awareness about lung cancer. It’s important that residents decrease exposure to radon to reduce the incidence of lung cancer; go for cancer screenings so that problems can be identified at an earlier, less dangerous stage…”

As per the EPA, radon is the second biggest cause of lung cancer in the nation, after cigarette smoking, causing as many as 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually. Nearly 2,900 of these deaths occur among individuals who never smoked.

The odorless colorless radon gas is the nation's second-leading cause of lung cancer, behind smoking, and is the most common cause in nonsmokers.

The cancer-causing gas seeps into buildings from the surrounding soil. Iowa and North Dakota have the highest rates of the odorless, colorless gas.

A report published by KIOW said, "EPA estimates that radon causes approximately 21,000 deaths annually per year nationwide. Of those 400 are attributed to Iowa alone each year. In the United States alone, Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and the second leading cause of lung cancer overall."