Nov 13, 2014 11:45 PM

Author: Office of Public Affairs

If you’ve never smoked, you don’t have to worry about getting lung cancer, right? Wrong. Every year in the U.S., 16,000 to 24,000 nonsmokers die from lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. The leading cause: Exposure to radon gas. 

Radon is an odorless gas that occurs naturally during the breakdown of radioactive elements such as uranium. “Radon is found in all 50 states, but in Utah, 30% of homes have radon levels in excess of the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended action level,” says Marty Malheiro, the outreach coordinator at the Utah Poison Control Center. Here’s how to determine whether your home and family are at risk. 

“Because radon gas can’t be seen or smelled, the only way to know whether it exists in your home is to get it tested,” Malheiro says. Home tests, which can be purchased for about $8 and only take a few minutes to set up, can show radon levels in 48 to 96 hours. Be sure the kit meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s requirements. There are several methods to reduce radon levels in your home. Check out EPA’s consumer guide for radon reduction for details.

To learn more about radon and how to protect your home, contact Huntsman Cancer Institute’s G. Mitchell Morris Cancer Learning Center at 888-424-2100.

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