Arkansans urged to test homes for radon, one leading cause of lung cancer

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), Radiation Control Section, is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a nationwide campaign to educate Americans about the dangers of radon exposure and to encourage them to take action to protect their homes and families.The Environmental Protection Agency designated January as Radon Action Month in 1999.

Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless, tasteless gas dispersed in outdoor air but can reach harmful levels when trapped in buildings. Scientists have long been concerned about the health risk of radon, but never before has there been such overwhelming evidence exposure to elevated levels of radon causes lung cancer in humans.

EPA estimates radon is responsible for more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year nationwide. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

Dr. William Mason, Medical Director for Preparedness at ADH, says because you can’t see or smell radon, people tend to downplay the health effects and ignore the possibility there might be a silent killer in their homes.

Testing homes for elevated levels of radon is simple and inexpensive. Radon test kits may be purchased online or at local hardware and home improvement stores. Prices are as low as $15. Radon problems can be fixed by qualified contractors for a cost similar to many common home repairs.

ADH urges Arkansas residents to take action by testing their homes for radon. Radon poses a serious threat to our community’s health, but there is a straightforward solution. For more information on radon, radon testing and mitigation, and radon-resistant new construction, call the Radiation Control Section at (501) 661-2301 or visit the ADH website at www.healthy.arkansas.gov .

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