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Radon gas in your home can be deadly; test your home now

This news story was published on March 1, 2015.
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AMES, IA – You may not be aware, but radon gas is one of the deadliest carcinogens found in our environment, according to Iowa health officials.

“It is nearly invisible to the public, receiving less attention than it deserves,” said Jenna Willems, a Healthy Homes Program Coordinator in Mason City.

Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas that is invisible (colorless, odorless, and tasteless), and is the second-leading cause of lung cancer.

Willems offered the following facts about radon, A.K.A. the ‘silent killer’:

First Alert RD1 Radon Gas Test Kit

  • Radon gas is present in over 2/3 of Iowa homes. That is higher than any other state in the U.S.
  • Any home can have elevated radon levels. This means old homes, new homes, drafty homes, insulated homes, homes with basements, and homes without basements are all at risk.
  • Smokers who live with radon in their homes are 8-9 times more likely to develop lung cancer from radon than non-smokers.

Studies show, and major health organizations agree, that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths every year. Despite the lack of awareness efforts for radon gas, more scientifically based evidence is available showing the health risk of radon exposure than most other human carcinogens. This is due to 50 years of extensive studies conducted on thousands of underground miners.  In 2005, the U.S. Surgeon General released a health advisory stating, “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 country. 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.”

Willems said the good news is, radon-induced lung cancer is completely preventable with a simple test of the air in your home.  She advised that everyone should have their home tested for radon.  Some Iowa radon experts will offer a free radon test kit. In Mason City and North Central Iowa, try the Cerro Gordo County Health Department at 641-421-9339.

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