CONTACT: Beth Kaplan, (608)
RADON EXPOSURE IS SECOND LEADING CAUSE OF LUNG CANCER
Exposure is Leading Cause of Lung Cancer Among
MADISON—Exposure to radioactive radon gas is the nation's second
leading cause of lung cancer and the leading cause of lung cancer among
non-smokers, so state officials are encouraging homeowners to check their
home's radon levels during these winter months when people spend more time
Radon is an odorless radioactive gas that is naturally present in the
ground and can enter buildings through their foundations. Both old and
newer homes can be susceptible to radon.
"This is a real wake-up call," said Dr. Henry Anderson, State
Health Officer. "Radon causes more lung cancer among non-smokers than
even second-hand tobacco smoke." An estimated 20,000 lung cancer
deaths are caused by radon annually among non-smokers, according to
reports by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Surgeon
"Fortunately this cause of lung cancer is largely preventable and
the first step is to test your home," Anderson said. "If an
elevated radon level is found, it can be easily and effectively
Radon concentrations in indoor air can be measured with simple,
inexpensive test kits available from hardware stores and local public
health agencies. Between 5 and 10 percent of Wisconsin homes have elevated
airborne concentrations where people spend the most time, according to
"Radon concentrations vary greatly from home to home,"
Anderson said. "Any home having contact with the ground should be
tested," Anderson said.
More than 60 radon mitigation contractors in Wisconsin are nationally
certified and install highly effective soil-depressurization radon control
systems. Thousands of systems are installed in existing homes in Wisconsin
each year. New construction should include features recommended by the
National Association of Home Builders to reduce radon entry.
For comprehensive radon information in Wisconsin, visit www.lowradon.org.
To reach local public health agency experts, call 1-888 LOW-RADON
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Last Revised: January 27, 2012