Monday, February 8, 2010

Is radon a health hazard? Post 2 of 7

Radon is considered a Group A carcinogen which means it is known to cause cancer in humans with prolonged exposure. It has been determined that radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.  While the link between radon exposure and lung cancer has been verified ongoing studies are being performed to better determine the increased risk associated with increased levels of radon.

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

References

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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Pillar to Post uses professional radon monitoring devices which have been classified as a "Continous Radon Monitor" testing devices which have been evaluated and accepted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The unit must be in place for a minimum of 48 hours.

My next post will discuss where radon is found in the US

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