Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, behind smoking. We all know that smoking and second hand smoke are the main culprits. We know we can reduce our risk if we avoid smoking. But, not everybody knows that breathing radon in indoor air is a risk factor, as well.
The trouble with radon is that it's not easy to know if you are breathing it. Radon is not as easy to detect as smoke is. You can't see radon, because it's too tiny. Particles we call radon are subatomic. You can't smell radon, because it's odorless. And, of course you can't feel radon if its in the air you are breathing. Nevertheless, studies show that radon causes cancer, if we breathe too much of it!
Therefore, we wonder what we can do about the health risks of radon, if we can't easily see the it? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to do two simple things:
You can find out more about research linking radon to lung cancer at the following authoritative websites.
Here's a link to the EPA's radon page Health Risks of Radon. The EPA states flat out that, "Exposure to Radon can cause lung cancer in both non-smokers and smokers. Learn more about Radon risks and read studies on the health effects of radon exposure." The EPA page includes Radon Risk to Smokers and Non-Smokers alike, and studies that show direct evidence linking radon in homes to lung cancer.
The National Research Council published Health Effects of Exposure to Radon: BEIR VI, Committee on Health Risks of Exposure to Radon (BEIR VI) This report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is the most definitive accumulation of scientific data on indoor radon. The BEIR VI Report is the definitive reference on the hazards of Radon, and it's a super technical reference.
In 2005, U.S. Surgeon General, Richard H. Carmona, issued a Health Advisory to inform us all about the health risk from exposure to radon in indoor air. He urged all Americans to test their homes to find out how much radon they might be breathing, stressing that "Indoor radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the county," Dr. Carmona said. "It's important to know that this threat is completely preventable. Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques."
The WHO says radon causes up to 15 percent of lung cancers worldwide. Therefore, to reduce lung cancer, the WHO published the WHO Handbook on Indoor Radon, and launched the International Radon Project to help countries increase awareness, collect data and encourage action to reduce radon-related risks.
The National Cancer Institute publishes radon information and references, answering: What is radon? How is the general population exposed to radon? How does radon cause cancer? How many people develop lung cancer because of exposure to radon? How did scientists discover that radon plays a role in the development of lung cancer? What have scientists learned about the relationship between radon and lung cancer? How can people know if they have an elevated level of radon in their homes? Where can people find more information about radon?