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Lung Cancer: A Simple Test Can Save Your Child’s Life

Lung Cancer: A Simple Test Can Save Your Child’s Life

Hollywood, FL 33021 March 8 2006

Debra Holtzman, J.D., M.A.

Radon is a leading cause of lung cancer, second only to cigarette smoking, says Debra Holtzman J.D, M.A, an internationally recognized safety and health expert and author of the award winning book, The Safe Baby: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Safety (Sentient Publications, 2005). In fact, it is estimated to cause about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States.

What is radon?
Radon is an invisible and odorless gas that occurs naturally from the breakdown on uranium. It can be found in soil, rock and air. When breathed outdoors, this gas poses a minimum health risk, but when it becomes trapped in buildings, concentrations build up which can be cause for concern. If the radioactive decay products of radon get trapped in your lungs, they can damage the live cells lining the lungs. Years of this damage can lead to lung cancer.

How a home was built and what construction materials were used can effect radon levels. Local geography is another contributing factor. Every state has pockets of high radon levels. Because levels vary from one area to another, the only way to know a specific home’s radon level is to test it. It is also possible for your home to have an elevated radon level while a neighboring home does not.

Radon can enter your home through openings around water pipes, sump pumps and drains, It can also enter through cracks and holes in the walls and foundation.The water supply is another possibility.

Test the Air in your home.
Because of the serious health threat posed by radon, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends that all residences, except those above the second floor in multilevel buildings, be tested. Fortunately, testing is easy and inexpensive. There are a number of radon kits available on the market that you can purchase through mail order or at your local hardware store. The price range is $10 to $45. It is important that you use detection kits that have passed the EPA’s testing program or are state approved. Your can perform your own test or you can hire a radon tester in your area that is state certified or proficient with a national radon program. Your state radon office can supply you with a list of testing kit companies and radon testers that have met those standards.
Insist that your child’s day care center or school be tested.

Test kits are either short or long term. Short term kit: 2 to 90 days: the most common is a charcoal canister.
Long term kit, 90 days to a year: the most common is an alpha tract detector. Radon levels tend to vary, not only from day to day but also from season to season. For that reason, a long term kit–which takes in consideration seasonal variations–is a better test.

Don't despair if testing indicates elevated levels of radon in your home. Your state’s radon office can provide you with a list of state certified contractors and those who are proficient in a nationally radon program. The cost for reducing radon levels typically range from $800 to $2500. The average cost to install radon-resistant features during new home construction is $350 to $500.

Debra Holtzman is an internationally recognized safety and health expert and award winning author. She has nearly two decades of experience in the safety and health fields. Debra is the safety expert on the Discovery Health Channel." The Safe Baby: A Do-it-yourself Guide to Home Safety (Sentient Publications, 2005) is in bookstores everywhere.

Interviews may be arranged via: E-mail: safebook@aol.com
Telephone: 954-963-7702

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