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Research links the colorless, odorless gas to increased lung cancer in nonsmokers. health news

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Radon gas is colorless and odorless and is released naturally from the breakdown of radioactive material underground that then seeps through building foundations. The gas can silently accumulate in people’s lungs and homes and go undetected until tested.

Data indicate that about 15-20 percent of newly diagnosed lung cancers occur in people who have never smoked, many of whom are in their 40s or 50s.

“Anyone with lung cancer can get lung cancer, and as a community, we should be aware and concerned about radon exposure because it’s considered one of the leading causes of lung cancer in ever-smokers — and there’s something we can do. Reduce our risk, ” says David Carbone, a thoracic medical oncologist at Ohio State University in the US.

Carbone said there are relatively simple tests that can measure radon in the home and help work to reduce exposure.

This includes installing a radon remediation system outside the home that draws air from the basement, where radon gas typically lingers. It is also important to increase airflow in your home by opening windows using fans/ventilating and sealing cracks in floors, walls and foundations.

Further, Carbone called for possible legislation to require radon testing in schools, places of business and at home sales to help reduce community risk. The effects of radon on the lungs are cumulative and may be delayed for decades.

“So your children playing in your basement or going to school today, exposed to unknown levels of radon, may be at risk of developing lung cancer 10, 20, 30 years from now,” Carbone said.

“And because the gas is completely colorless and odorless, you’ll have no idea you’re being exposed unless you actively know the importance of testing.”

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