Presentation on theme: "Radon Overview Introduction: Radon and Radon Exposure Health Effects."— Presentation transcript:
Radon Overview Introduction: Radon and Radon Exposure Health Effects
Learning Outcomes Upon completion of this module you will be able to: Recall where radon comes from Identify a radon decay product Recognize the two critical variables that affect indoor radon’s impact on health Recall how many people are estimated to die annually from exposure to radon Recall how many homes in the U.S. have radon gas levels over the federal action level
What is Radon? A naturally occurring radioactive gas Colorless, odorless and tasteless Found all over the U.S. in all types of buildings
Where Does Radon Come From? Occurs naturally by the decay of uranium in rock and soil Uranium is widely found in trace amounts in soil and rocks Radon in soil and rocks under and adjacent to buildings, migrates through foundations, cracks and small openings and concentrates inside buildings
Radon and Your Health Why is radon a concern? Radon decays into radioactive particles known as radon decay products. These particles are easily inhaled and deposited in the lungs where they can damage sensitive lung tissue.
The Facts About Radon All radon studies confirm the connection between radon exposure and lung cancer Respected national and international organizations agree that radon causes lung cancer American Lung Association American Medical Association American Public Health Association National Academy of Sciences U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention U.S. Environmental Protection Agency World Health Organization
Radon and Lung Cancer Annual deaths (2009) from lung cancer: 158,081 Total radon-related deaths per year: 21,000 (13%) Average years of life lost for radon-related lung cancer: 17
Risk Factors Duration of exposure Longer exposure time = greater risk Levels of radon Higher levels = greater risk Smoking In combination with radon exposure = greater risk DANGER Lungs at work!
How Radon Harms the Lungs Radon gas is inhaled Radon decay products become trapped in the lungs As products decay, some release alpha radiation Radiation damages lung tissue Even very small exposures to radon can cause lung cancer No known safe level of radon
Radon and Lung Cancer Radon-induced lung cancer Risk increases equally by both duration and concentration of exposure One dart at a time for a long time, or handfuls of darts over a short time
Radon Concentrations in the Air Picocuries/liter (pCi/L) Average outdoor: 0.4 Average indoor: 1.3 Consider fixing the home: 2 to under 4 Action level- fix the home: 4 or above Action level is based on level that can be achieved technically. It is not based on health standards. No known level of radon is safe.
How Common are High Radon Levels? EPA estimates that 1 in 15 U.S. homes has a radon concentration at or above the action level of 4 pCi/L
Radon Risk Comparison The estimated number of people who could get lung cancer per 1,000 people exposed over a lifetime Radon Level (pCi/L) People Who Never Smoked People Who Smoke 2036260 1018150 815120 4762 2432 1.3220 0.4-3
National Radon Health Advisory “Indoor radon gas is a national health problem. Radon causes thousands of deaths each year. Millions of homes have elevated radon levels. Most homes should be tested for radon. When elevated levels are confirmed, the problem should be corrected.” U.S. Public Health Service
Summary The chances of developing lung cancer depend on: Duration of exposure Level of radon in the home Smoking Greatly increases the risk of developing lung cancer
Summary In this module we have discussed: Where radon comes from What a radon decay product is The two critical variables that affect indoor radon’s impact on health How many people are estimated to die annually from exposure to radon How many homes in the U.S. have radon gas levels over the federal action level