Radon Health Risks

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Radon comes from the natural radioactive breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. It is an invisible, odorless, tasteless, cancer-causing gas that enters buildings through the numerous cracks, holes, and pipes in the foundation. It can also enter a building from well water.

Radon can be found in any building, but homes are the most concerning since that’s where families spend the most time.

Radon Can Cause Cancer

Radon breaks down into radioactive particles that can cause cancer when inhaled. These radioactive particles can damage the cells in our lungs and increase the risk of lung cancer.

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. It is estimated to cause about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year and about $2 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity. The Iowa Radon Lung Cancer Study tracked nearly 1,000 women who had lived in their homes more than 20 years. The results of the case-control study (after adjusting for age, smoking, and other factors) indicated that a 20-year exposure of radon levels at the EPA guideline of 4.0 pCi/L yielded an increased lung cancer risk of 50%.

 

2021-2025 Colorado Cancer Plan

The Colorado Cancer Plan has guided the prevention, treatment and control of cancer statewide for more than 25 years. The 2021-2025 state cancer plan continues in that tradition, providing a five-year framework to reduce the risk, incidence and mortality associated with cancer in Colorado. This plan represents a shared approach to overcoming Colorado’s cancer challenges through primary prevention, early detection, effective treatment and support for survivors from the time of diagnosis until the end of life.

The plan’s objectives are organized along the cancer continuum of care rather than by type of cancer. It is not a detailed action plan, but rather a roadmap of broad goals, specific objectives, and evidence-based strategies.

Watch the Cancer Plan Launch Live from Cheyenne Wells, Colorado

Radon and Smoking Produce a Synergistic Effect

Smokers exposed to high concentrations of radon have even a greater risk of developing lung cancer than being exposed to either substance individually. The risk of lung cancer from radon gas is estimated to be approximately 10 -15 times greater for persons who smoke cigarettes in comparison with those who have never smoked. Get help to quit using tobacco.

The Face of Radon-Related Lung Cancer

The following video features Johanna Carpine of Wellington, Colorado. She was diagnosed with radon-related lung cancer in 2013. After a two-year battle, Johanna died on August 21, 2015.

Radon Resources

A Citizen’s Guide to Radon (English)
A Citizen’s Guide to Radon (Spanish)
Health Care Providers’ Guide to Radon
Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction
World Health Organization Radon Handbook
Radon and Real Estate in Colorado
Measuring and Mitigating Radon in Colorado
Presence of Radon Gas in Your Home
Radon Resistant New Construction Checklist
Information about Radon Venting