Posted: Jan 10, 2013 12:52 PM by Dennis Carlson
Updated: Jan 10, 2013 2:14 PM
Missoula - 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 Montana residents about the importance of lung health, the American Lung Association in Montana 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 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 Renee 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 (EPA), 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 226,160 new lung cancer cases and 160,340 lung cancer deaths in the United States in 2012. The National Institutes of Health report that an estimated $9.6 billion is spent each year in the United States on lung cancer treatment alone.
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: www.radonkit.org. If you are building a new home, ask your builder about radon-resistant construction materials.