The federal Environmental Protection Agency and various other health agencies are joining to promote awareness of the danger of radon in homes. Radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
Winter is the best time for people to test their homes for radon. It's a naturally occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas. One in 15 American homes contains high levels of radon, and millions of Americans are unknowingly exposed to it. In fact, a recent Harvard University study ranked radon as America's biggest in-home hazard.
The hazard can be avoided by testing for radon and making fixes if needed.
Radon gas is not isolated in any geographic areas or home types. It has been detected in homes in every county in the U.S. According to the Radon Awareness campaign, radon exposure caused more American deaths in 2014 than carbon monoxide, fires, and handguns combined.
If a home has not been tested in the past two years, the EPA and U.S. Surgeon General urge people to do the test.
The federal commitment made by EPA, the General Services Administration, and the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Veterans Affairs will focus efforts on radon reduction and mitigation in homes, especially those of low income families, many of whom do not have the resources to make the simple fixes necessary to protect themselves.
The federal consortium recently met with key leaders in the public health, environmental, and private sectors to launch the federal radon action plan that includes immediate and long-term steps to reduce radon exposure. Cooperating health agencies include the American Lung Association, Centers for Disease Control, and the National Cancer Institute.
Learn more at www.RadonMonth.org. For local information, call the Colorado State University Extension Office in Durango at 382-6463.