EPA: 21,000 die annually from radon exposure

January 10, 2011

Washington – Exposure to radon gas causes an estimated 21,000 deaths annually in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That is a higher number of deaths than those caused by drunk driving, falls, fires or carbon monoxide exposure.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, yet it may be present in dangerously high levels in the home. According to EPA, radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers.

EPA has designated January as National Radon Action Month. The agency urges homeowners to take the following steps:

    • Test your home for radon. Test kits are easy to use and often are available free or at little cost through state radon programs.
    • Attend a National Radon Action Month event in your area.
    • Spread the word about the dangers of radon, and encourage others to test their homes.
    • Buy a radon-resistant home. If you are building a new home, look for builders who use radon-resistant new construction.