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 CDC Radon.jpgColorless, odorless, and tasteless, radon is a naturally occurring radioactive noble gas that, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is responsible for more than 20,000 deaths from lung cancer each year. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) names this gas as second only to cigarettes in causing cancer deaths. Radon occurs in nature from the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium. Because it cannot be detected by any of the five human senses, it poses special challenges.
 
The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) lists the discoverer of this gas as Friedrich Ernst Dorn in 1900. Dorn observed a radioactive gas being emitted by radium compounds during some of these experiments. In 1910, scientists isolated the gas and determine its properties. In 1923 it was named radon by the International Union of pure and Applied Chemistry. Its name, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), comes from radium. Dangers of this gas have been documented as early as 1530, when a "wasting disease" was noted in miners. This condition was further identified as lung cancer in 1879. Not until 1950, was the presence of radon indoors recognized. Research to determine the health effects of radon began in the seventies, but it was not until the eighties that radon was targeted as a carcinogen.
 
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have worked hard to make people aware of its dangers. Elevated levels of radon have been found in every state in the United States. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as many as 8.3 million homes in the United States could have increased levels of radon. This means about 1 out of every 14 homes is affected. People are exposed to radon through inhalation and ingestion of the gas. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) points out that radon that is in groundwater or the soil, infiltrates spaces within the home and workplace by entering through gaps and cracks in floors, spaces inside walls, joints and gaps where service pipes are, and through the water supply.
 
People in closed spaces like mines where radon is trapped, are exposed to far greater concentrations of the gas. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), elevated radon levels are often found in cellars, basements, and areas in contact with the soil. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that homes, schools, and workplaces be tested for radon levels. The (CDC) emphasizes that testing is the only way to determine risk factors. The National Academies Press (NAP) has published several articles about the relationship of exposure to radon and health.
 
Various articles by the National Academies Press (NAP) have reviewed health effects of radon exposure as well as comparative studies on radon in homes and mines, and the risk assessment. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have also published fact sheets about radon. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also developed guidelines for safe levels and what to do if levels are elevated. Numerous test kits are available commercially for individual use. There are also professionals who will come in, test radon levels, and help develop a plan of action.

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David

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Holy cow! I had no idea that deaths were this high with radon exposure. This is some scary stuff! I know I read that is can actually cause more lung cancer than smoking but they haven't completed the studies yet. 
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DaleJames

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Now I knew that drunk driving was up there but I had no idea that radon actually surpasses that. I remember reading about it being an issue in mines but this is mind blowing information. I think people should be educated on this in work and school.
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