Still another health risk worse than Ebola

Thursday, October 23, 2014

One of the ironies of the ebola "crisis" is that Americans have become more aware of the relative risks of more common diseases such as influenza.

In fact, by some reports, more people are better prepared to prevent flu infection, through vaccination, handwashing and other measures, as a result of the ebola scare.

This week, National Radon Action Week, officials would like to remind us of another health risk, one that will cause more than 20,000 preventable cancer deaths this year in the United States this year.

According to the Surgeon General, one in 15 American homes contains high levels of radon. A recent study by Harvard University ranks radon as America's top in-home hazard, and the leading source of radiation exposures to the American population.

Most of Southwest Nebraska and about two-thirds of the rest of the state, is at high risk for having high levels of radon. Radon problems have been detected in homes in every county of the United States.

The naturally-occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas caused more American fatalities last year than carbon monoxide, fires and handguns combined.

If a home hasn't been tested for radon in the past two years, EPA and the Surgeon General urge citizens to to take action.

Contact Denise Ringenberg, (308) 345-4223 at the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department or visit the agency's radon page at http://1.usa.gov/1DE6VBI

Have your existing home tested, and, if necessary, have remediation steps taken. If you're building a new home, ask your contractor about employing the proper construction techniques to avoid the problem.

Or for general radon information, visit http://1.usa.gov/1tktbxq

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