Almost 1 in 15 U.S. homes is infected with radon gas, one of the leading causes of lung cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which just launched a major program with eight other federal agencies to encourage homeowners to have their homes inspected for the silent killer.
Radon gas exposure is the leading cause of non-smoking lung cancer and leads to an estimated 21,000 deaths each year, the federal government estimates. The gas doesn’t provide any signs of obvious existence and can be present in new homes and older structures.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, invisible and odorless. Millions of Americans are unknowingly exposed to this dangerous gas daily in their homes and businesses. EPA and the Surgeon General urge people to test their homes for radon at least every two years. State radon test offices have been set up to provide information on locating qualified test kits or qualified radon testers.
“Through the Federal Radon Action Plan, we’re working with partner agencies to raise awareness about the threat of radon in our homes and to take steps to mitigate this hazard,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Together our efforts will help reduce radon exposure and make our homes, schools and communities healthier places to live, learn, work and play.”
The Federal Radon Action Plan includes strategies to reach low-income families, many of whom don’t have the resources to make corrective actions to protect their homes. An estimated 7.5 million buildings and homes in the U.S. will be aided through the program.
The program includes federal actions to reduce radon risks, and launching an outreach initiative to educate families about the health risks associated with radon exposure and the solutions to address the risks.
- Incorporating radon testing and mitigation into federal programs.
- Investing in new standards and updating codes for measurement and mitigation in schools, daycare facilities, and multi-family housing.
- Establishing incentives that drive testing and mitigation in the private and public sectors.