CONTACT: Stephanie Marquis, 608-266-1683
RADON EXPOSURE IS SECOND LEADING CAUSE OF LUNG CANCER
Exposure Ranks First Among Non-Smokers
MADISON - Noting that January is National Radon Action Month,
state health officials today cited federal estimates that identify
exposure to radon gas as the nation's second leading cause of lung cancer
and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
"Radon causes more lung cancer among non-smokers than even
second-hand tobacco smoke. Fortunately, this cause of lung cancer is
largely preventable," said Dr. Seth Foldy, State Health Officer.
"Radon concentrations can vary greatly from home to home and it
enters buildings through their foundations."
Radon is an odorless radioactive gas that is naturally present in the
ground. Radon is not an irritant to the eyes or nose, nor is it an
allergen. The only risk from radon in air is lung cancer, after many years
of breathing it.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Surgeon General have
summarized the radon risk based on estimates in the National Academy of
Sciences report titled Health Effects of Exposure to Radon, BEIR VI, as
well as the EPA's summary of epidemiology on second hand smoke showing
radon causes about 3,000 lung cancer deaths per year among people who have
State statistics indicate that between five and ten percent of the
homes in Wisconsin have elevated airborne concentrations in
significantly-occupied spaces. The only way to know the radon level in a
house is to measure it. Radon concentrations can be measured with simple,
inexpensive test kits available from hardware stores and local public
Radon can be controlled in any house. More than 60 radon mitigation
contractors in Wisconsin are nationally certified to install radon control
systems if your home has an elevated level of radon. Thousands of systems
are installed in existing homes in Wisconsin each year. If you are
building a new home, state health officials recommend using the standards
for green building from the National Association of Home Builders to help
reduce radon entry.
Comprehensive radon information for Wisconsin is available on the
Department's website at www.lowradon.org.
Experts in local public health agencies can be reached toll-free statewide
by dialing 1-888 LOW-RADON (1-888-569-7236).
# # #
May 20, 2013