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Radon gas identified as a leading cause of cancer
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, and the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior and Veterans Affairs have joined forces to help save lives and create healthier home and school environments for America’s families.
The plan brings together commitments that help to reduce exposure to radon and protect the health of Americans through leveraging and advancing existing state, local and national programs.
Radon exposure is the leading cause of non-smoking lung cancer and leads to an estimated 21,000 deaths each year.
“With nearly one in 15 homes affected by elevated levels of radon and thousands dying each year from radon-induced cancer, it’s time to step up our actions in the federal government,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. “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. 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 brings together government agencies to demonstrate the importance of radon risk reduction, address finance and incentive issues to drive testing and mitigation, and build demand for services from industry professionals. The plan will help spur greater action in the marketplace, create jobs in the private sector, and significantly reduce exposure to radon. The plan includes strategies to reach low-income families, many of whom do not have the resources to make the simple fixes necessary to protect their homes and loved ones. With the help of all agency networks, approximately 7.5 million buildings and homes in the United States will be able to receive information and build awareness around this serious public health risk.
The plan includes the following federal government actions to reduce radon risks:
• Launching a cross-government 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; and
• Establishing incentives that drive testing and mitigation in the private and public sectors
Radon is a naturally-occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas. Approximately one in 15 American homes contains high levels of radon. Millions of Americans are unknowingly exposed to this dangerous gas. EPA and the Surgeon General urge people to test their homes for radon at least every two years.
Contact your state radon office for information about locating qualified test kits or qualified radon testers. Learn more about the Federal Radon Action Plan at www.RadonPlan.us or by calling (800) SOS-RADON (7236).
From the July 6-12, 2011, issue