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Simple Radon Test Can Help Prevent Lung Cancer

Release Date: 01/04/2007
Contact Information: Roxanne Smith, (202) 564-4355 /; Contacto en español: (202) 564-9924 /;

(Washington, D.C. - Jan. 4, 2007) Each year, nearly 20,000 people die from lung cancer caused by exposure to radon. A common source of exposure to radon that can be avoided is exposure in the home, yet only one in five homeowners has actually tested for radon. January is National Radon Action Month and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is urging people to test their homes.

"Healthy homes make for healthy families," said Bill Wehrum, EPA's acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. "EPA is encouraging people to test for radon – a simple step to providing peace of mind."

Radon is an invisible radioactive gas that seeps into your home from underground, and can reach harmful levels if trapped indoors. The only way to know if your home contains high radon levels is to test for it. Nearly 80 percent of American homes have not been tested for radon, even though a simple test costing as little as $25 can help detect a possible radon problem. If radon is found, homeowners should consult with qualified professionals who can reduce radon exposure for a cost similar to many common home improvement repairs. State radon offices can help the public find qualified radon professionals.

"The invisible and odorless nature of radon makes it a real challenge when trying to raise awareness about its public health risk," said acting U.S. Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu. "Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and it is completely preventable. You can protect your family with a simple first step, and I urge people to take action to prevent radon exposure by testing their homes."

EPA is launching a campaign to inform people about radon and is working with organizations across the country to educate the public on how to protect themselves from radon exposure in their homes. Local government agencies, non-profit organizations, schools, health care providers, radon professionals, and other community groups will work together to host events and activities to increase awareness about radon, promote testing and mitigation, and advance the use of radon-resistant new construction.

More information about Radon Action Month:

Get your home tested: