Home Report: Dangerous source of lung cancer found in 25 percent of Virginia homes
Health, Virginia

Report: Dangerous source of lung cancer found in 25 percent of Virginia homes

Crystal Graham
lung xray
(© steph photographies – stock.adobe.com)

A new report shows that high levels of radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer, is found in approximately 25 percent of homes in Virginia.

The American Lung Association’s “State of Lung Cancer” report shows that 25 percent of radon test results in Virginia equal or exceed the Environmental Protection Agency action level of 4 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter of air).

During National Radon Action Month, the American Lung Association in Virginia is urging everyone to help save lives by testing their home for radon and mitigating if high levels are detected.

Testing for radon

Radon may be present at high levels inside homes, schools and other buildings. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas emitted from the ground. Radon is odorless, tasteless and colorless, and can enter a home through cracks in floors, basement walls, foundations and other openings.

  • Do-it-yourself test kits are simple to use and inexpensive.
  • After high levels are detected, a radon professional should install a radon mitigation system, which is easy and relatively affordable, according to the American Lung Assocation.
  • A typical radon mitigation system consists of a vent pipe, fan and properly sealing cracks and other openings. This system collects radon gas from underneath the foundation and vents it to the outside.

Nationally, radon is responsible for an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year and is the leading cause of lung cancer in people who have never smoked.

“Radon in homes is more common than you think. In fact, high levels of radioactive radon gas have been found in every state but most places in the country remain undertested, so this isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States,” said Kevin Stewart, director of environmental health for the Lung Association. “Testing for radon is the only way to know if the air in your home is safe.”

Learn more about radon testing and mitigation at Lung.org/radon

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.