Radon is a radioactive, naturally occurring, inert gas. Radon is undetectable to human senses like, smell, sight, and taste. Difficulty to detect this gas is problematic since Radon decay particles that get in the lungs are responsible for Lung Cancer.
Exposure to Radon Causes Lung Cancer In Non-smokers and Smokers Alike
Lung cancer kills thousands of Americans every year. Smoking, radon, and secondhand smoke are the leading causes of lung cancer. Although lung cancer can be treated, the survival rate is one of the lowest for those with cancer. From the time of diagnosis, between 11 and 15 percent of those afflicted will live beyond five years, depending upon demographic factors. In many cases lung cancer can be prevented.
Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Smoking causes an estimated 160,000* cancer deaths in the U.S. every year (American Cancer Society, 2004). And the rate among women is rising. On January 11, 1964, Dr. Luther L. Terry, then U.S. Surgeon General, issued the first warning on the link between smoking and lung cancer. Lung cancer now surpasses breast cancer as the number one cause of death among women. A smoker who is also exposed to radon has a much higher risk of lung cancer.
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. On January 13, 2005, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the U.S. Surgeon General, issued a national health advisory on radon.
Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of lung cancer and responsible for an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Smoking affects non-smokers by exposing them to secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke can have serious consequences for children health, including asthma attacks, affecting the respiratory tract (bronchitis, pneumonia), and may cause ear infections.
For smokers the risk of lung cancer is significant due to the synergistic effects of radon and smoking. For this population about 62 people in a 1,000 will die of lung-cancer, compared to 7.3 people in a 1,000 for never smokers. Put another way, a person who never smoked (never smoker) who is exposed to 1.3 pCi/L has a 2 in 1,000 chance of lung cancer; while a smoker has a 20 in 1,000 chance of dying from lung cancer.
Radon is a naturally-occurring, radioactive gas created when uranium in the earth's rock, soil or water decays. Indoors it is not naturally occurring, but a result of the way our homes, schools, and workplaces are designed, constructed, and maintained. Radon is one of the most significant environmental health risks that exists today.
RADON in NEBRASKA. One in three homes in a zone 1 area will test above the EPA Action Level of 4 pCi/L. Most of Nebraska is identified as a zone 1 one area. ( Map | EPA )(link to Map)
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