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Radon Causes 100 Times More Deaths than Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - EPA Launches National Radon Action Month

Release Date: 01/10/2008
Contact Information: Dave Ryan, (202) 564-4355 /; En español: (202) 564-4355 /

(Washington, D.C. - Jan. 10, 2008) Did you know?

--Breathing home indoor radon causes nearly one hundred times more deaths each year than carbon monoxide poisoning.

--Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking.

--Some 20,000 people will die this year due to breathing too much radon without even knowing it.

Responding to this danger, EPA is joining state, local, and tribal governments, community groups, public health organizations, and industry in designating January as National Radon Action Month, to raise public awareness and promote actions reducing these risks.

"In our national drive to reduce greenhouse gases by making our homes greener, we shouldn't forget that they can't truly be green without being safe places for people to live," said Marcus Peacock, EPA's deputy administrator. "It's remarkably easy to protect our loved ones by testing for radon and building new homes with radon-resistant features that allow everyone to breathe freely and safely."

As part of Radon Action Month, EPA has released a public service announcements featuring Fuad Reveiz, a member of the National Association of Home Builders and former NFL Pro Bowl place-kicker.

"It's simple and cost-effective to build new homes with radon-resistant features," said Reveiz. "It makes sense to do it right from the start."

Radon is an invisible radioactive gas that seeps into homes undetected through foundation cracks, and can reach harmful levels if trapped indoors. It travels up from underground sources of uranium in the earth's crust. EPA estimates that one in 15 homes will have a radon level of four PicoCuries per liter (pCi/L) of air or more, a level the agency considers high.

The radon threat is preventable with some simple steps. In existing homes, families can begin protecting themselves by buying an easy-to-use radon test kit to determine if a high level exists; if so, a high level might be lowered simply with a straight-forward radon venting system installed by a contractor. In new homes, builders can easily and economically include radon-resistant features during construction, and home buyers should ask for these. EPA also recommends that home buyers ask their builder to test for radon gas before they move in.

Radon preventive actions have saved an estimated 6,000 lives in the last 20 years. EPA has a goal to double that number, to 12,000 lives saved, in the next five years. All Americans can contribute to saving someone's life by testing and reducing high levels in existing homes or testing and building radon-resistant new homes.

As part of an effort called Radon Leaders Saving Lives, EPA is working with state and local governments, non-profit organizations, and radon professionals across the country to educate consumers about ways to reduce radon in existing and new homes. Moreover, everyone can be a radon leader and help save a life by telling a friend or neighbor about preventing lung cancer from breathing radon.

For more information about radon, visit: or call 1-800-SOS-RADON (767-7236)

Radio and print PSAs are available in English and Spanish at: