How was it determined that between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year are caused by radon?

Friday, June 29, 2018

Here’s the thing to know: lung cancer deaths caused by radon gas are not reported by physicians and tallied by a government agency each year to arrive at those numbers, because it cannot be verified that a particular lung cancer death was the direct result of radon exposure. According to the National Cancer Institute, “radon was identified as a health problem when scientists noted that uranium miners that were exposed to it died of lung cancer at higher rates. The results of miner studies have been confirmed by experimental animal studies, which show higher rates of lung tumors among rodents exposed to high radon levels.”

    Other studies then compared the rate of lung cancer incidence in homes with high radon to lung cancer occurrence in homes with an acceptable radon level, ultimately analyzing the data from thousands of people. The conclusion, again according to the National Cancer Institute, was that “the results of this analysis demonstrated a slightly increased risk of lung cancer for individuals with elevated exposure to household radon. This increased risk was consistent with the estimated level of risk based on studies of underground miners.”

    The “15,000 to 22,000” estimate of radon-related lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. was extrapolated from the “slightly increased risk” percentage indicated by the studies combined with the estimated number of homes that have elevated radon. The radioactivity of radon damages the tissue lining of your lungs when you breathe it in, and that damage may lead to lung cancer—or it may not. 

    A number of other environmental and genetic factors also come into play. Smoking cigarettes enhances the lung damage done by radon, for example, and the EPA estimates that only 2,900 of the annual radon-related deaths in the U.S. are people who never smoked.

    But the fact that no one can state with certainty that a particular person’s lung cancer was caused by, or related to, radon does not mean it should be ignored. The science is very clear that elevated radon also elevates your risk of lung cancer. Why would you knowingly increase your risk of lung cancer? 

    We recommend that you test the radon level in your home and, if it is higher than the EPA recommended limit of 4.0 pico-curies per liter of air, a professional radon mitigation contractor should install a system to reduce it down to below the 4.0 level.

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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about RADON:

 Is a radon mitigation fan required to be on a dedicated circuit breaker/fuse in the electric panel?

What happens to a radon test result if the windows were opened, the test device moved, or there was any other evidence of tampering during the test? 

Where do I find the Florida laws regarding radon?

Can I test vacant land for radon before building a house? 

Is radon mitigation possible for a condominium?

Do radon mitigation systems require maintenance?

What is the average life expectancy of a radon mitigation system?  

Do older houses have higher radon levels than new houses? 

Can the seller tamper with a homebuyer's radon test to change the results?

How long does it take to get the results of a radon test? 

Will opening the windows reduce the radon level in a house?

Can a homebuyer do their own radon test for a real estate transaction with a self-test kit?

What is the danger of radon in well water?

What are the symptoms of radon poisoning? 

Does Florida have radon?

Where does radon come from? 

For how many years does an old radon test result remain valid?

Should homeowners get a pre-listing radon test before selling their home?

What are a homebuyer's options when the radon test comes back high (4.0 pico-curies/liter or more)? 

Do granite countertops emit radon?

How can I tell if a house has a radon mitigation system? 

Can a mobile/manufactured home have a high radon problem?

Do I need to test for radon when buying a condominium? 

What does a radon mitigation contractor do to lower the radon level in a home?

How can not testing for radon be an expensive mistake for homebuyers? 

Will the radon test come back sky-high in a house that has been empty and closed-up for months? 

What is radon? Should I be concerned about it?

Should I buy a house with a high radon level? 

What is the average radon level of indoor and outdoor air in America?

What is the operating cost of a radon mitigation system? 

• Should I buy a house with a radon mitigation system?

• Does the buyer or seller of a home pay for radon mitigation when the radon test comes back high? 

• What is the probability of having high radon in a Florida house?

    Visit our RADON page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.


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