The winter can be a dangerous time of year for people living with high levels of radon in their homes. This time of year, radon levels can soar as residents keep their windows closed and spend more time indoors.
In an effort to educate and encourage Oregon residents about the importance of lung health, the American Lung Association in Oregon is kicking off Radon Action Month.
Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that naturally occurs in the soil. When levels get too high, it becomes hazardous to our health. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking, and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
“We know from many studies that breathing high levels of radon increases your risk of lung cancer, yet you can’t see, taste or smell radon,’’ said Renée Klein, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific. “Testing is an easy, important way to protect you and your family. If you don’t test, you don’t know.”
Radon and smoking make an even more deadly combination. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high. The EPA estimates that about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon-related, with about 2,900 of these deaths occurring among people who have never smoked.
Lung cancer kills more Americans than any other cancer, claiming more lives than the next four leading cancer killers — breast, prostate, colon and pancreas cancers — combined.
Lung cancer places a significant burden on our society. According to the National Cancer Institute, there were an estimated 228,190 new lung cancer cases and 159,480 lung cancer deaths in the United States in 2013.
The American Lung Association and the Environmental Protection Agency recommend that all homes be tested for radon. Test your home for radon today by purchasing at radon test kit at: radonkit.org. If you are building a new home, ask your builder about radon-resistant construction materials.
The American Lung Association in Oregon also encourages the public to learn more about radon at Radon Forum Northwest to be held Jan. 16 from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., at the Salem Public Library, located at 585 Liberty St. S.E., Salem, OR 97301.
The event is free and is open to the public and will feature informational presentations, a panel discussion and a Q&A series with industry experts. RSVP to Tiffany Belser at 503-718-6141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Lung Association in Oregon is a nonprofit, voluntary public health organization, working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease in Oregon. Its programs focus on the areas of asthma, clean air, tobacco prevention and lung disease.
For more information about the American Lung Association in Oregon or to support the work it does, call 503-924-4094 or visit lung.org/oregon.