Utah has the highest average radon levels in the country. As a result, radon induced lung cancer in Utah is a significant concern in the state. Radon exposure is responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths from lung cancer each year in the United States. And a significant number of those cases occur in Utah.
According to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, nearly 1 in 3 Utah homes has radon levels above the EPA action level of 4 pCi/L. The highest concentrations of radon in Utah are found in the northern part of the state. Particularly in Cache, Weber, and Box Elder counties. Other counties pose a risk as well. The only way to know your radon level is to test your home.
Risk of Lung Cancer from Radon
The risk of developing lung cancer from radon exposure depends on the concentration of radon in the air, the duration of exposure, and individual factors such as smoking history and family history of lung cancer. However, even people who have never smoked can develop lung cancer from exposure to high levels of radon.
Studies have shown that people who are exposed to high levels of radon for long periods of time have a significantly higher risk of developing lung cancer than those who are not exposed to radon. In fact, the risk of lung cancer from radon exposure is higher than the risk of many other types of cancer, such as breast, colon, and prostate cancer.
Danger of Radon for Smokers
Radon exposure is especially dangerous for smokers. Smoking damages the lungs and makes them more susceptible to the harmful effects of radon. Smokers who are exposed to radon have a significantly higher risk of developing lung cancer than non-smokers who are exposed to radon.
Children and infants are also at risk for radon exposure. They may be more vulnerable to the harmful effects of radiation because their lungs are still developing. Exposure to high levels of radon over a long period of time can increase the risk of lung cancer in children and infants.
Radon Induced Lung Cancer is Preventable
The good news is that radon-induced lung cancer is preventable. Radon testing is the only way to know if a home or building has high levels of radon. Testing is easy and inexpensive, and can be done by the homeowner or a professional.
If radon levels in a home or building exceed the EPA action level of 4 pCi/L, the EPA recommends that measures be taken to reduce radon exposure. The EPA and WHO also recommend considering a radon mitigation system if your level is between 2 and 4 pCi/L. Radon mitigation involves installing a ventilation system to draw the radon gas out of the home or building and disperse it into the atmosphere. The system can be installed by a professional contractor trained in radon mitigation.
In Utah, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality offers a radon awareness program to help homeowners and building owners learn about the risks of radon exposure and how to test for and mitigate radon in their homes and buildings.
Test Your Home for Radon
In conclusion, radon-induced lung cancer is a serious health concern in Utah due to the state’s high average radon levels. The risk of developing lung cancer from radon exposure is higher than the risk of many other types of cancer. Smokers who are exposed to radon have a particularly high risk of developing lung cancer.
However, radon-induced lung cancer is preventable through radon testing and mitigation. Homeowners and building owners in Utah should take steps to protect themselves and their families from radon exposure. Test your home today, order a Radon Test Kit. If you have radon in your home, contact us right away to talk about radon mitigation.