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Esther Yoon MPH500 Concordia University – Nebraska June 24, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Esther Yoon MPH500 Concordia University – Nebraska June 24, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Esther Yoon MPH500 Concordia University – Nebraska June 24, 2013

2 A naturally occurring clear, odorless, and tasteless gas Has been found to be the 2 nd leading cause of lung cancer after smoking(U.S. Department, 2010) Exposure correlates with the chance of lung cancer Kidney and cardiovascular cancer has also been linked to radon exposure (National Cancer) U.S. Congress has mandated each state to have an office in charge of radon assistance (U.S. Department, 2010) Figure 1. Radon. Periodic TablePeriodic Table

3 So small it easily enters homes through cracks in floors, construction joints, and gas appliances (U.S. Department, 2010) 6 million U.S. homes have radon levels above the EPA recommended 4.0 pCi/L (U.S. Department, 2010) The only way to measure levels is to test with a short or long-term test kit Figure 2. Radon Test Kit. (

4 Discovered in 1900 by German physicist Friedrich Ernst Dorn (U.S. Department, 2010) Dangerous isotope: radon-220 (thoron) and radon-222 (Yamada, 2003) Its stable half-life = 3.8 days (Yamada, 2003) Very small (50 to 300 nm) so can get into most places (Yamada, 2003) Risk of lung cancer linearly proportional to exposure (Yamada, 2003) Link between radon and lung cancer made when miners had spike (U.S. Department, 2010)

5 Alpha-particles enter the body and get stuck to a thin layer of the epidermis of the lung. Decay products are deposited in the respiratory tract and directly deliver alpha-energy. Figure 3. Radon and its transformation. (Radon Detection)Radon Detection

6 No discrimination, every is exposed to some radon More mountainous areas have higher levels (EPA) Children have a higher risk due to lung shape, size differences, and more rapid breathing (U.S. Department, 2010) Rural, low-income families also are at-risk because they more more likely to not know of the risks (Larsson, 2009) Figure 3. EPA Radon Zones. (EPA).EPA Figure 4. Montana Radon Zones. (Larsson).

7 Americans spend 90% of their time inside so poor ventilation has dangerous effects (Larsson, 2009) Good air ventilation drastically decreases the dangers of radon (National Cancer Institute) Radon cannot be removed from our environment, so we must change our actions to adjust and create a healthier environment

8 Population-based case-control study of Iowa women About 4 radon detectors were placed in each home (majority of basements’ levels were over EPA’s recommended) No correlation between radon exposure and active smoking Radon exposure has significant risk for lung cancer in women Risk estimates were in agreement with National Research Council’s predicted cancer risk from radon exposure

9 Examined awareness, behaviors, and accuracy of parent’s risk perceptions of their children Used National Health Interview Survey Rural residents had basic knowledge of radon, most disagreed about health effects being serious Over half of sample didn’t know how to measure level in their home or how to reduce levels Testing increased from 9.7% to 15.5% in 4 years (Larsson, 2009) This intervention suggested to nurses how to be successful at presenting to at-risk populations

10 To change the behavior of the public, the key has been raising awareness (EPA, 2009) EPA created National Radon Action Month in January Event Planning Kit made by EPA for any groups or communities to use as a tool to advertise the dangers of radon (EPA, 2009) Some states have free radon test kits available (Kafer, 2013) Montana State University is using digital signage technology in WIC clinics to advertise (Reuters, 2011) Federal Radon Action Plan led by EPA works to increase public understanding (EPA: Protecting people, 2011) January 2011 – January 2015

11 Present to public so they become personally knowledgeable The educated will go and tell their friends and family of the dangers Local groups build it up through the community and educate Government and society fully accepts the dangers and acts Figure 5. The Ecological Model with explanation. (CDC)CDC

12 It is not required that all homes on the market be tested for radon, but EPA and Surgeon General highly recommend it (EPA, 2009) High radon concentrations can be in new and old homes (EPA, 2009) Figure 6. How radon enters a home. (Kearney Home Inspection)Kearney Home Inspection

13 SEER cancer registries (Luo & Hendryx, 2011) Registry that adjusts age of lung cancer mortalities to make population proportional Toxics Release Inventory (Luo & Hendryx, 2011) Assesses mortality rates Provides conclusions on lung cancer by toxins WHO’s Ionizing Radiation Programme (WHO, 2013) Through Sustainable Development and Healthy Environments Cluster Evaluates health risks and public health issues because of radon exposure Makes recommendations to public health response groups

14 Public health has raised awareness of the dangers of radon in the past years Dr. Oz has a piece in February 2011 on residential radon (Morley, 2011) Many county health departments have free test kits available, local hardware stores have them for ~$20 If levels are high after testing, there are solutions for any budget (EPA, 2009) Full mitigation to just changing a filter The recommended radon level in the home is below 4.0 pCi/L Lung cancer is the leading killer cancer in the US (Chan, 2010) Smoking is the major cause of lung cancer but there are those who never have smoked also have lung cancer Reaching out to the public is important because lung cancer due to radon exposure is completely preventable

15 Chan, A. (2010, September 10). The top 10 deadliest cancers-and why there’s no cure. NBCNews. Retrieved from Environmental Protection Agency: Radon (Rn). (2009, January). Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon. Retrieved from Hill, W.G., Butterfield, P., & Larsson, L.S. (2006). Rural parents’ perceptions of risks associated with their children’s exposure to radon. Public Health Nursing, 23 (5), 392-399, doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.2006.00578.x Kafer, T. (2013, May 16). Health officials encourage radon testing. Isanti-Chisago County Star. Retrieved from Larsson, L.S., Hill, W.G., Odom-Maryon, T., & Yu, P. (2009). Householder status and residence type as correlates of radon awareness and testing behaviors. Public Health Nursing, 26 (5), 387-395. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.2009.00796.x Luo, J., & Hendryx, M. (2011). Environmental Carcinogen Releases and Lung Cancer Mortality in Rural-Urban Areas of the United States. The Journal of Rural Health, 27, 342 – 349, doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2010.00357.x. Morley, R. (2011, February 9). Radon: A danger in your home. The Dr. Oz Show. Retrieved from National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health, National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet. (2011, December 6). Radon and Cancer. Retrieved from topics/factsheet/Risk/radon. Reuters. (2011, November 15). Montana state university educates about harmful radon gas with Vericom’s ChannelCare Digital Signage. [Press release]. Retrieved from 2011+GNW20111115 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Health, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. (2010). Radon Toxicity: Case studies in environmental medicine. Retrieved from World Health Organization, Programmes and Projects. (2013). Ionizing Radiation. Retrieved from Yamada, Y. (2003). Radon exposure and its health effects. Journal of Health Sciences, 49(6), 417-422).

16 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [Electronic Image], Retrieved from ecologicalmodel.html EPA Map of Radon Zones [Electronic Image], Retrieved from Kearney Home Inspector: Integrity Home Inspection and Testing [Electronic Image], Retrieved from i6f55er&description=Radon_FAQs i6f55er&description=Radon_FAQs Larsson, L. (2010) [Electronic Image], Montana Radon Project Radon [Electronic Image], Retrieved from Radon Test Kit [Electronic Image], Retrieved from

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