Healthy Indoors Magazine

HI Jan 2017

Healthy Indoors Magazine

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Page 21 of 48

Headline FEATURE— January 2017 22 from the ground, water, and some building mate- rials that contain very small amounts of uranium. Radon gas breaks down further to form additional radioactive particles called radon daughters, or "progeny" that can be inhaled into the lungs. "Radon is hidden and dangerous. We can't see or smell it. The only way to know it's around is to test for it." — Henry Slack, Indoor Air Coordinator EPA Southeastern Office, Atlanta, GA dont-know-until-you-test/ Radon cannot be detected by the senses; it is colorless, odorless and tasteless. However, it can be detected with special instruments. When radon is released from the ground outside it mix- es with fresh air and gets diluted resulting in low concentrations. However, when radon enters an enclosed space, such as a house or basement, it can accumulate to high concentrations and be- come a health risk. Although radon gas is naturally occurring in the outdoors it is not naturally occurring in our homes and workplaces. It comes into buildings because of how we design, build and use these structures. Radon is measured by using special testing devices. Depending on the device a method is used to calculate and report in the amount of ra- diation determined to be in the air. In the U.S. that measurement is reported in Picocuries per liter (pCi/l ). In Canada and Europe it is reported in R adon causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. and 3,200 lung cancer deaths every year in Can- ada. If I were to tell you that scien- tists in Canada and the U.S. have developed inexpensive methods to test for radon, that building sci- entists have developed methods to fix a building with elevated levels, and that the fix for a build- ing would take most trained professionals under a day to complete…wouldn't that be wonderful news? This is in fact the case. I would think that this would be front page news in every newspa- per. We could save thousands of lives every year just by encouraging you and your neighbors to have a simple test done and if that test showed elevated levels…get it fixed. Dr. Maria Neira of the World Health Organi- zation said that "Most radon-induced lung cancers occur from low and medium dose exposures in people's homes. Radon is the second most important cause of lung cancer after smoking in many countries." In a Dec 30, 2013 publication by Bill Field PhD, MSa* and Brian Withers, DOb on Occupational and Environmental Causes of Lung Cancer, they said, "Because of the large population at risk and the widespread potential for protracted exposures, residential radon decay products are likely the leading environmental cause of cancer mortality in the United States." Radon is a radioactive gas that is formed nat- urally by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. As a gas, radon is slowly released By Bob Wood

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