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Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. Radon has no smell or taste and cannot be seen. It can be found all over the United States, in every state. Radon can get into any type of building where there is naturally occurring radon in the ground. When buildings have high levels of radon in the air, people can breathe air containing radon which can cause lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking tobacco. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
Most people are exposed to radon primarily in their homes since that is where people spend most of their time. Homes can be tested for radon. If high levels of radon are detected, there are ways to lower radon levels in a home. New homes can be built with radon-resistant features. These features can reduce radon entry, and can make it easier and less expensive to lower radon levels if necessary.
Examination of radon is new to the Cancer Trends Progress Report this year.
The proportion of homes with an operating radon mitigation system for persons living in homes at risk for radon exposure. This measure is expressed as a percentage. It is calculated for each year by dividing the cumulative number of single family dwellings (SFD) with an operating mitigation system by the number of SFDs estimated to have a radon level ≥4pCi/L, which is EPA’s action level. The number of SFDs with an operating mitigation system is calculated based on the gross number of radon vent fans sold for a given year adjusted for longevity by subtracting the fans installed 11 years before, assuming the useful life of a fan is 10 years, and assuming one fan per SFD. The number of fans sold is based on radon vent fan sales data from three major fan manufacturers that represent over 90 percent of the market. More information available on the Healthy People 2020 website.
Healthy People 2020 Target
- Increase the proportion of homes with an operating radon mitigation system for persons living in homes at risk for radon exposure.
Healthy People 2020 is a set of goals set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Radon Vent Fan Manufacturers’ Sales Data (https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/data-source/homes-with-radon-mitigation-systems)
Homes with an Operating Radon Mitigation System
|Overview Graph||Detailed Trend Graphs||Most Recent Estimates (2013)|
|Percent of homes||Confidence Interval|
|Homes with an Operating Radon Mitigation System||15.0||Not available|
Additional Information on Radon
For the public
- Environmental Protection Agency. A Citizen’s Guide to Radon: The Guide to Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Radon.
- Environmental Protection Agency. Basic Radon Facts.
- American Lung Association. Radon.
For health professionals
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Environmental Health and Medicine Education: Radon Toxicity.
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. ToxGuide for Radon (October 2012).
- International Agency for Research on Cancer. Man-made Mineral Fibres and Radon. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans 1988;43.