Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and elevated radon levels are found in more than 1 in 15 homes in the U.S. To eliminate this preventable lung cancer risk factor and protect all communities and buildings, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with strategic partners like the American Lung Association, launched the new five-year National Radon Action Plan.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas emitted from the ground that is odorless, tasteless and colorless. Radon can enter a home through cracks in walls, basement floors, foundations and other openings. Radon can be present at high levels inside homes, schools and other buildings.
“Radon can impact anyone, however, homeowner households led by people of color and by those with low income are less likely to have their homes tested for radon than others,” said Katherine Pruitt, national senior director of policy for the Lung Association and convenor of the National Radon Action Plan Leadership Council. “We are working to raise more awareness about this dangerous gas and make sure people are aware that it is easy to test for radon. Testing should be done by everyone, including homeowners, renters, real estate agents, building managers and school administrators. Fortunately, do-it-yourself test kits are simple to use and inexpensive.”
The goal of the National Radon Action plan is to eliminate preventable lung cancer from radon in the U.S. by expanding protections for all communities and buildings. In addition, the plan set a goal for the nation to find, fix and prevent high indoor radon levels in 8 million buildings by 2025; to prevent an average of at least 3,500 lung cancer deaths per year; and to save one-quarter of a million lives in those buildings over time. The National Radon Action Plan was developed through a collaborative effort by the EPA, the American Lung Association, and 11 other organizations.
“Exposure to radon is a persistent threat to public health, causing thousands of lung cancer deaths each year,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “The National Radon Action Plan announced today will help us better protect the health and wellbeing of communities across the nation by providing the tools and training to prevent radon-induced lung cancer.”
The American Lung Association has been involved with the development and implementation of the National Radon Action Plan since its inception in 2014 and works to reduce the health impacts on radon for all Americans.
Through this plan, the organizations encourage all Americans to learn more about radon at Lung.org/Radon and to test their homes. In addition, they encourage healthcare providers to speak with their patients about the health impacts of radon and to encourage them to test their homes.