Second Leading Cause Of Lung Cancer In U.S.

LITTLE ROCK — 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.

Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that 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 overwhelming evidence that exposure to elevated levels of radon causes lung cancer in humans.

EPA estimates that 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.

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

Testing homes for elevated levels of radon is simple and inexpensive. Radon test kits can 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 that of 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 our website at www.healthy.arkansas.gov.