Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
No one is surprised to learn the health risks associated with smoking, but do you know that the second leading cause of lung cancer is exposure to radon?
Smoking is the Number One Cause of Lung Cancer.
Doctors have known for years that cigarette smoking causes about 90% of lung cancers. Based on 2010 records, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 201,144 new cases and 158,248 deaths from lung cancer. And smoking does not just cause cancer in the lungs. Cancers caused by smoking can travel throughout the body.
As if cancer were not bad enough, smoking also contributes to heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Not only does smoking cause cancer and contribute to other illnesses, changes to cells caused by smoking make treating cancer and other illnesses more difficult.
Exposure to Radon Gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Exposure to radon is estimated to cause about 21,000 deaths per year. Radon is inescapable. It is a radioactive by-product of the breakdown of uranium, and is present in air, rock, soil and water everywhere. Radon has no taste, color or smell and can accumulate to dangerous levels inside your own home, workplace or school. Radon particles are so tiny they cannot be seen but they can attach to dust and smoke in the air, making them easy to inhale and attach to your lungs.
Second-hand smoke is the third leading cause of lung cancer.
Second-hand smoke causes about 3,000 deaths per year for non-smokers. If you smoke, your smoking causes second-hand smoke, which can harm your family, friends and coworkers, even if they do not smoke themselves.
The Combination of Smoking and Radon
Radon can accumulate in any building, particularly in the lower floors. Since smoke can actually transmit particles of radon into the lungs, continuing to smoke indoors not only increases your risk of getting lung cancer, but also increases the risk for those around you. Everybody has to inhale! The same second-hand smoke which causes lung cancer in non-smokers, is also a vehicle for transporting radon gas into the lungs of both smokers and non-smokers in your home. Since any enclosed space can accumulate radon, exposure to smoking (direct or second-hand) makes it even more likely that radon will enter your lungs.
You can reduce your risks from exposure to radon through simple Radon Mitigation efforts.
The good news is you can reduce your risks from exposure to radon through simple radon mitigation efforts. The EPA recommends that everyone test their home for radon. Simple testing kits are available at home improvement stores or through radon mitigation specialists, such as Next Step Environmental Services LLC. If your home tests above 4 pCi/L (4 picocuries per liter of air) you should employ radon mitigation techniques to reduce the level of radon. Such techniques involve fairly simple construction modifications to limit the entry of radon into the home through cracks or openings in foundations and walls and to accelerate venting of radon outside through active or passive ventilation systems. State-certified radon mitigation specialists such as Next Step Environmental Services LLC can help you choose the most effective method for your home.
Smoking and exposure to radon are the number one and number two causes of lung cancer. You can reduce your risks from radon through simple radon mitigation techniques which may include construction modifications. More good news. You can further reduce your health risks and those of your nearest and dearest by quitting smoking. The benefits of quitting can begin within 20 minutes of your last cigarette and stopping can add to the length and quality of your life.
If ever there was a good time to stop smoking, that time is now!
Builders, homeowners and renters seeking more information on Radon Testing and Radon Mitigation should contact a certified radon specialist. Next Step Environmental Services LLC is an excellent resource for self-testing materials, professional inspections and effective and economical remediation.