KODE Medical Focus: Radon Awareness Month

Medical Focus

KODE — Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer… And first if you’re a non-smoker.

But the odorless, invisible gas is tough to detect.

“…and there are natural levels of uranium that are around in our soil and in our basements all over the place and this guy has a gradual decline or has a gradual or wearing down of the uranium and as it wears this down, it actually changes into radon,” said Dr. Philip Slocum, Freeman Lung Center.

Dangerous for those who come in contact with radon, which the EPA says leads to 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year.

“Recent review in the European Respiratory Journal. They looked at a number of studies and they did an estimate and they think that with significant radon exposure, you increase the risk of lung cancer and non-smokers by 15% over people who are non-smokers and have not been exposed to radon.”

Risk levels in the Four States area generally thought to be lower than some other regions, but that’s no guarantee.

“That is a general evaluation of the whole environment and where we live, but individual spots and individual homes still can have high levels of radon and they need to be monitored.”

And that’s not a one-time test.

“They need to be monitored at least several years at a time. So you need monitoring. Now you come back in five years and you’re monitored again, the same place has to be looked at over and over again,” said Dr. Slocum.

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