Posts Tagged ‘epa’
Nearly every homeowner has encountered the term “radon” either during the selling or purchasing process. Homeowners have good reason to be aware of the potential presence of radon in their home, to test radon levels, and install radon ventilation systems if the radon levels are high. Many prospective home-buyers, however, choose to forgo radon testing prior to purchasing their new home, because they are uneducated or misinformed regarding what radon is and the detrimental long-term effects it can have on the health and vitality of their families.
What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally-occurring, colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is highly radioactive and extremely dense (nine times more dense than air!). It was discovered in 1899-1900 by two European physicists, Ernest Rutherford and Friedrich Ernst Dorn. Although there are many forms of radon, Radon-222 is the type that occurs most frequently in the environment.
Radon can be highly concentrated in groundwater and in the ground under where a building is constructed; the ingestion of this contaminated water, and the inhalation of the radon particles released from this water, are the two primary ways in which people are exposed to this radioactive substance. As radon decays, the particles attach to microscopic airborne materials, like dust, which facilitates its inhalation by humans.
Lung cancer is widely known as being a deadly result of smoking, however it can still afflict those who have never picked up a cigarette. Cancer, while sometimes triggered by an outside factor, is the random proliferation of cells. The body is supposed to regulate cell division, but when something interferes with its ability to maintain a balance, cells can divide at an exponential rate, causing tumors. Benign tumors pose a small threat to the body, but can usually be surgically removed. Malignant tumors, on the other hand, start in one part of the body and spread to others. This form must be treated with more complicated and less effective methods. Lung cancer spreads quickly once it forms, and it is among the hardest types to treat. In the first year, only 40% are expected to survive; by the third year, the number drops to 10%. Lung cancer takes more lives each year than colon, prostate, and breast cancer do combined, making it the deadliest form of cancer.
No. 2 Cause of Lung Cancer: Radon Gas
Tobacco products have been blamed for anywhere between 80% to 96% of lung cancer cases, but staying away from cigarettes does not guarantee healthy lungs. Secondhand smoke increases the risk, making up approximately 3,000 of the 160,000 lung cancer deaths each year. However, even without exposure to tobacco products or smoke, a person can still contract lung cancer. Asbestos has become a well known factor in causing mesothelioma, but it is also linked to lung cancer. Asbestos fibers can stay in the lungs for a lifetime, and people who have had exposure are five times as likely to develop lung cancer, even if they have never smoked. Radon gas, a product of uranium decay, causes around 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year. This makes it the second leading cause of lung cancer. While most people would not consider radon gas to be a threat, the Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that almost 7% of houses contain a dangerous level of the gas, which can travel through soil. It has been shown that genetic predisposition can attribute to lung cancer development. History of lung disease, including prior lung cancer, increases the risk as well. Approximately 1% of lung cancer comes from air pollution. While smoking increases the chances, any of these risk factors alone can cause lung cancer.