One in nearly 15 homes contains high levels of radon, a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. An estimated 21,000 people die each year from lung cancer due to exposure to radon in homes and other buildings.
Dangerous levels are found in homes in every state, including in Ohio.
January was Radon Action Month and the American Lung Association in Ohio encourages Ohio residents to take these simple steps to protect their health from this invisible threat.
The American Lung Association offers three important steps to fight radon:
1. Test homes for radon. Inexpensive radon testing kits can be found at many hardware stores or online. Testing can also be done by a certified radon testing professional. If dangerous levels of radon are found, homeowners can install a radon mitigation system, for about the same price as a large television, to decrease the risk of harmful exposure.
2. Speak up to lower radon risk in other indoor spaces. Radon can build up in all buildings, not only in homes. Speak with local community officials and public health professionals to encourage radon testing and mitigation systems if high levels are found in schools and childcare facilities and other public and private facilities.
3. Support policy steps in Ohio to reduce radon levels indoors. Concerned Ohio residents should support changes to policies that could lower the risk of exposure to radon, including the adoption of building codes for radon-resistant construction. During real estate transactions, potential buyers should be informed about the radon levels in the home they're considering.
"You can't see, taste or smell radon, but it is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, which is the top cancer killer," said Emily Lee, the Vice-President of Mission Services of the American Lung Association in Ohio. "This natural occurring gas comes into our homes through spaces in the walls, floors, basements, and foundation. Too many people do not know that they may have this dangerous threat in their homes. Testing is easy and it's the only way for people to know how serious the risk of exposure is. Because most of us keep our homes closed up in colder weather, January provides a great time to test for radon. It's something every home and business owner in Ohio should do."
Fighting radon requires workable strategies, and the American Lung Association led the development of the National Radon Action Plan to provide those tools. In 2016, Vice President Joe Biden's Cancer Moonshot report cited the National Radon Action Plan as a leading effort to save lives. Learn more about radon at Lung.org/ radon or call the Lung Association's toll-free Lung HelpLine (1-800-LUNGUSA).