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  Friday April 25th, 2014    

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New research shows increased risks of radon-induced lung cancer (01/17/2007)
By Bill Angell

Housing specialist, U of M Extension Service

It's now more important than ever to test your home for radon, and winter is the best time.

There's no doubt that high radon levels in homes cause lung cancer. Recent studies show the danger of lung cancer from high radon levels in homes is higher than previously thought.

A recent "pooled" analysis of residential radon lung cancer studies by members of the World Health Organization's International Radon Project is probably the most definitive residential radon risk assessment in our lifetime.

Everyone involved in the study agrees that the scientific foundation for our understanding of lung cancer dangers from radon exposure in the home is greater than previously thought. For the general population, at the current radon "action" level used in the U.S., the chance is at least one in 50 of contacting lung cancer from radon exposure in homes.

Now " not when you want to sell your home " is the best time to test for radon. Short-term testing is best done when homes are closed up " and in Minnesota, that's winter.

And if you're a prospective home buyer, by all means insist on a radon test. This applies even when you're buying a new home. Research has shown no difference in radon levels between new and existing homes in Minnesota.

But if you're building a new home, you'll want to incorporate radon-resistant construction features. This can be done for $300 to $500, much less than fixing a radon problem once the home is built.

Testing is easy and inexpensive. You can get information testing from local public health offices, state health offices, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In Minnesota, go to www.health.state.mn.us. See www.epa.gov/radon for detailed information from EPA. You can order radon testing kits from http://mn.radon.com

Radon is second only to smoking at the most common cause of lung cancer. And Minnesota is the fourth highest state with radon levels above EPA "threshold for action levels." January is National Radon Action month; see www.epa.gov/radon for detailed information from EPA. 

 

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