The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated January as National Radon Action Month. The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is working with EPA in a nationwide campaign to educate Americans about the dangers of radon exposure and to encourage citizens to take action to protect their homes and families.
Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium inside the earth. Radon is 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 clear evidence that exposure to elevated levels of radon causes lung cancer in humans.
EPA estimates that radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year. 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.
“There is a lack of public awareness on the prolonged human exposure to radon and its link to lung cancer”, says Oklahoma Lung Cancer Initiative Founder/President, Jenny Banner. “The more we can educate Oklahomans on the risks associated with exposure to radon, the better chance we have about helping to save lives.”
Testing homes for elevated levels of radon is simple and free. EPA estimates that 1 in every 15 homes nationwide has a high radon level at or above the recommended radon action level of 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) of air.
DEQ encourages Oklahomans to take action during this year’s National Radon Action Month by testing their homes for radon. For a free test kit, contact DRHOMEAIR at 1-800-324-5928 or www.drhomeair.com/ok.