American Lung Association calls for increased radon testing in Pennsylvania

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The American Lung Association is calling for increased radon testing in Pennsylvania. Exposure to the naturally occurring, odorless, tasteless gas is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Pennsylvania buildings are prone to radon contamination; an estimated 40% of homes in the state have high levels of the gas, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

In its 2023 annual State of Lung Cancer report, the American Lung Association ranked Pennsylvania poorly among other states for its radon levels.

“While most people think lung cancer is something that happens because of smoking, radon exposure, poor air quality, and genetics all play into that,” said Aimee VanCleave, an advocacy director with the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania.

People can protect themselves by testing for radon in homes and buildings, and by installing mitigation systems if radon levels are high. However, VanCleave said public schools in Pennsylvania do not test for radon as frequently as they should, and she calls for legislation to improve testing statewide. Several times over the past decade, legislation requiring radon testing in Pennsylvania schools has stalled.

According to a 2018 study by Healthy Schools PA, only 31% of surveyed schools in the state tested for radon.

“We’re sending our children to a place where we don’t know if they are being exposed to radon, because it’s naturally occurring, but it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless,” VanCleave said.

  • November 18, 2023
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