On Thursday, January 13, 2005, the press release entitled, “Surgeon General Releases National Health Advisory On Radon” was published:

“U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona warned the American public about the risks of breathing indoor radon by issuing a national health advisory today. The advisory is meant to urge Americans to prevent this silent radioactive gas from seeping into their homes and building up to dangerous levels. Dr. Carmona issued the advisory during a two-day Surgeon General’s Workshop on Healthy Indoor Environment.

‘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 county,’ Dr. Carmona said. ‘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.’

Radon is an invisible, odorless and tasteless gas, with no immediate health symptoms, that comes from the breakdown of uranium inside the earth. Simple test kits can reveal the amount of radon in any building. Those with high levels can be fixed with simple and affordable venting techniques. According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates, one in every 15 homes nationwide have a high radon level at or above the recommended radon action level of 4 picoCuries (pCi/L) per liter of air.”

When a person breathes in radon, the radioactive particles from the radon gas gets trapped in the lungs. Over time, these radioactive particles increase the risk of lung cancer.

Today, about 22,000 people in the U.S. die from radon-caused lung cancer.  Although lung cancer can be treated, the survival rate is one of the lowest. From the time of diagnosis, between 11-15% of those diagnosed will live beyond five years.

In an effort to reduce lung cancer, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched an international radon project to help increase awareness, collect data and encourage countries to take action to reduce radon-related risks.

Visit the project Here: http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/env/radon/en/

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