In June 2003, the EPA revised it’s risk estimates for radon exposure in homes. EPA estimates that about 21,000 annual lung cancer deaths are radon related. EPA also concluded that the effects of radon and cigarette smoking are synergistic, with smokers being at a much greater risk from radon.
The US Environmental Protection Agency and Surgeon General recommend that people not have long term exposure in excess of 4.0 Pico Curies per liter (4.0 pCi/L).
Radon’s negative health affects have been verified by carefully controlled studies on animals, hard-rock miners and most recently has been confirmed in residential case-controlled studies. You can read this study, Residential Radon Gas Exposure and Lung Cancer – The Iowa Radon Lung Cancer Study, here http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/151/11/1091.pdf .
According to the National Cancer Institute radioactive particles from radon can damage cells that line the lungs and lead to lung cancer. The presence of radon in your home can pose a danger to your family's health. In 2005 the Surgeon General released a National Health Advisory on Radon recommending testing of all homes. You can read that press release here: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/pressreleases/sg01132005.html
American Journal of Epidemiology Journal of Epidemiology Link
Colorado Department of Health and Environment Colorado Radon Link
US Environmental Protection Agency www.epa.gov/radon
National Cancer Institute www.cancer.gov
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My next post will discuss where radon is found in the US