WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – Radon, a radioactive gas found at high levels in nearly 1/4 of West Virginia homes, is the second leading cause of lung cancer. The American Lung Association is encouraging people to test for the gas during Radon Action Month in January.
“We know that the radon problem in the United States is serious, it causes about 21,000 deaths annually from lung cancer,” says Kevin Stewart, Director of Environmental Health for the American Lung Association.
It’s odorless, tasteless and colorless, but the harmful gas can be found in walls, basement floors, foundations and other openings in homes, schools and buildings of any kind.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends taking action to reduce radon levels if it is 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or higher. According to the Lung Association, over 23% of West Virginia homes are exceeding the EPA’s action level.
“Radon levels do vary around the country, it depends a lot on the geology of the area, and there are certain kinds of rocks that are more likely to contain Uranium that gives rise to the radon gas, or that also has cracks and openings in the rocks and in the soil that allow the radon to escape more easily,” Stewart says.
Experts say the good news is that radon is easy to prevent and control through buying radon test kits at local hardware stores, or by contacting radon mitigation services who can install systems that keep radon from coming in.
For more information about radon testing or what to do about the presence of it in your home, you can visit:
Department of Health and Human Resources