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Radon: A Leading Environmental Cause of Cancer Mortality

2012 January 24

By Dr Susan Conrath

Throughout my career as a Public Health Service Officer and EPA employee, I have always been surprised by the relatively low level of radon awareness throughout the country. Radon is a Class A carcinogen- we know that it causes cancer in humans. But, this huge environmental risk is not on most individuals’ “radar screens.” Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil. Since it is a gas it can easily move through spaces in the soil and escape into the air where it is diluted. However, when radon enters a home through cracks in the foundation or other openings, it becomes trapped inside and can accumulate. You can’t see, smell or taste radon, but it’s there. In fact, its discovery as an indoor air issue occurred when an individual, Stanley Watras, set off radiation alarms in a nuclear power plant because his home’s levels were so high.

Many people do not realize that radon is the number two cause of lung cancer in the U.S.; exceeded only by smoking. For never-smokers radon is the number one cause of lung cancer. Scientific studies have confirmed the risk and show no evidence that there is any “safe” level of radon.

As shown on our Health Risks Page radon-induced lung cancer deaths [at the U.S. average indoor air concentration of 1.3 picocuries/Liter of air [1.3pCi/L]] are in the same general range as deaths from leukemia and lymphoma and are greater than a number of selected cancers that we currently spend large amounts of money to research and/or combat.

Protect your family! The only way to know if you have radon in your home is to test. Testing is easy and inexpensive. If your level is high fix the problem. It’s one of the best investments you can make for your family’s health and it will enhance the future sales potential of your home by making it a healthier place to live. Learn more about how to test and fix for radon.

If you are building a house or having one built, radon-resistant new construction [RRNC] techniques can be used to avoid having to deal with high radon concentrations. It’s less expensive to install RRNC during construction than to have to fix a radon problem at a later date.

About the author: Dr Susan Conrath is a CAPTAIN with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. She works in the Office of Radiation and Indoor Air as an epidemiologist and international expert on radon risk.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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12 Responses leave one →
  1. Hans van den Broek permalink
    January 24, 2012

    Mrs. Susan Conrath Dr,

    Radon, Polonium-210 and example Formaldehyde find we in a lot Beehives when they is made from plywood with Formaldehyde and Beekeepers use Smoke and special Tabacco-Smoke in their Beehives a risk for themselves also for the Users and Consumers of all kind Beeproducts as Pollen-Honey-Propolis-Royal Jelly-Bee Wax-Bee Venom-Wound Honey or Api Therapy anyway with Tabbacco-Smoke bring our Beekeepers more as 4.000 Toxic Chemicals in their Beehives included radioactivity and cancer giving chemicals. Must Beekeepers use the modern ligthweigth Beehives from polystyreen where we know that ‘Styreen’ can given also the illness as Cancer.
    GMO-STAIN-IPM Seeds or with other names is also a great risk to become as User or as Consumer from this kind of plants, bush, trees the illness as Cancer where mostly first the Pancreas is the Victim a very bad ilnness Pancreas-Cancer. Since the beginning of our Industry since 1900 now 112 years is Beekeeping a tricky hobby or profession where all Beekeepers support with their Honey Bees the ‘Cross Pollination’ from GMO-STAIN-IPM Seeds with their Toxic Chemicals…………they support destroy our good old plants, bush, trees, air, water, soil, ground- and drinkingwater included our food because few Politcians in Governments did allow Chemical- and Pharmaceutical Toxic Chemicals included GMO’s in a lot Countries. Why produce with 100% of Evidence Chemical Dust and make also from all Beeproducts Chemical Dust? Why did we Humans learn nothing from all our Pollinators, the Birds, Bats, Rats, Insects and special the Bees as Honey Bees with more as 130.000.000 expierence in Europe with pollination from flowers on plants, bush and trees? We can do Agriculture without any Toxic Chemical and Dung with Uranium…………why do Governments nothing in this matter we ‘Rent this amazing Planet the Earth” for few years from our own and other Children.
    Best regards from a Human as Beekeeper,
    Hans van den Broek in the Netherlands

  2. Arman permalink
    January 24, 2012

    Radon And Justice.-

    Radon impact makes me to break loose. It’s unfair, especially in the areas in the developing countries with the poor people and poor instruments. Sometimes, technologies aren’t part of them and it kills value of life span. Please, don’t tell it them, because if they know, it could make them panics and or who cares…..?

  3. Ankan permalink
    January 27, 2012

    Interesting post and thanks for sharing…

  4. June 12, 2012

    The fact is, most people just do not know about radon, The only information I saw for a very long time was a poster, no TV advertisement no radio time, most people have no idea what harm they are doing to their bodies!

  5. Obat Tradisional Penyakit Kanker Otak permalink
    February 7, 2013

    I might know radon is what?

  6. Konsumen Cerdas permalink
    April 9, 2013

    Nice post, good to know that this Developer Conference topic is being covered also in this web site.
    Thanks for taking time to discuss this, keep up with this interesting work.
    Good job !

  7. lebah madu permalink
    June 11, 2013

    thanks for sharing, I just found out that radon for curing honeycomb can cause cancer

  8. Arif permalink
    June 25, 2013

    Thanks for info.
    check this out! Natural Cancer Treatment

    Typhonium Plus – Alternative Cancer Treatment (Typhonium Flagelliforme extract) As a natural supplement may help to combat cancers/tumors and stimulate anti-bodies. The Typhonium Plus formula is traditionally used by cancer/tumor patients may help to combat breast, colon, rectum, liver, prostate, leukemia, cervical, and lung cancer.

  9. permalink
    September 4, 2013

    Agree with this statement.

  10. Fahira permalink
    April 18, 2014

    Thank’s for information

  11. Obat Kanker Payudara permalink
    October 28, 2014

    Thank’s for information

  12. Heather McFarland permalink
    January 21, 2015

    I just did a Radon test in my basement, so waiting for results It was a kit I bought from the hardware store. Keeping my fingers crossed that my levels are low. Heather

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