January is National Radon Action month. The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness wants you to know the dangers of radon and encourages you to test your home. The department is offering free radon test kits while the supply lasts. You can request a kit online by clicking this link: https://louisvilleky.wufoo.com/forms/qoixf410qzn3z/ or by calling 574-6650.
Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that is naturally found in soil. It can enter the home through small cracks in the home’s foundation and can cause lung cancer through prolonged exposure. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, behind smoking, and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, causing between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
The entire state of Kentucky is at high risk for radon exposure with about 40 percent of homes estimated to have unsafe levels. The only way to know if radon exists at dangerous levels in your home is to test for it.
“We encourage everyone to test their homes for radon, “said Dr. Joann Schulte, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. “People can’t see or smell radon so they may be unaware that it might exist at dangerous levels in their homes and be exposing them to deadly health effects.”
The lung cancer risk factors of tobacco smoke and radon are related. More radon-related lung cancers occur in individuals with a history of exposure to tobacco smoke. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.
Lung cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, with the highest mortality rate of any cancer. Kentucky has the highest incidence rate of lung cancer in the nation with a rate of 93.4 per 100,000 compared to the national average of 59.4. The death rate from lung cancer in Kentucky is 69.5 per 100,000 compared to the national average of 43.4. In Louisville our lung cancer incidence and mortality rates are also well above the national average. According to the Kentucky Cancer Registry the incidence rate of lung cancer in Louisville is 94.8 per 100,000 compared to 59.4 nationally. The death rate is 61.7 compared to 43.4 nationally.
.Here are a few tips to help prevent radon in your home: