Radon a risk in some homes

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Geologically based indoor radon potential map of Kentucky. Map category breaks were converted from local customary units of pCi/L (1 pCi/L = 37 Bq/m3) and rounded upward to the nearest 10 Bq/m3 to simplify the map legend.ß

Given the global pandemic and the recommended public health guidelines, individuals and families are spending more time than ever at home. But there are risks even there.

While nearly 80 percent of lung cancers are caused by tobacco smoke, exposure to radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer -- accounting for approximately 21,000 cases of lung cancer each year in the U.S.

Kentucky leads the nation in the number of new cases and deaths from lung cancer.

Radon gas exposure is an invisible threat to your health that cannot be seen, smelled or tasted. While the naturally occurring gas is present at low levels in outdoor air, our greatest risk of exposure is in the home, where the gas enters and becomes trapped.

There is something you can do to lower your risk of radon exposure. Some local health departments, including the Lake Cumberland District Health Department, as well as the Kentucky Radon Program, offer free short-term radon test kits to Kentucky residents.

When elevated radon levels are found, radon mitigation systems can be installed by certified radon mitigation professionals. In many cases these systems can reduce radon levels in homes by up to 99 percent.

With January being National Radon Action Month, there is no better time than now to test your home. Take action if your home radon concentration is at or above 4.0 pCi/L.

According to LCDHD spokesperson Melonie Williams, residents may contact the environmentalist at their respective county health department in the 10-county region. The free test kits may be picked up or mailed to them.

For more information about making your home and community a healthier place to breathe, go to https://www.uky.edu/breathe/.

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