Tag Archives: Radon

Get Your Home Tested For This Silent Killer

This month is National Radon Action Month, and DHEC is encouraging all South Carolinians to test their homes for the silent killer.

Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell, or taste. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and the No. 1 cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

Any home can have a radon gas problem. The only way to determine if your home is trapping radon is to test.

Quick Facts about Radon

  • Breathing in radon can change the cells in your lungs, which increases your chances for getting lung cancer.
  • Radon is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S.
  • Smokers who are exposed to radon have a much higher risk of lung cancer.
  • Elevated radon concentrations have been found across South Carolina.
  • Radon levels as high as 70.0 pCi/L and higher have been found in South Carolina.
  • Nearly one out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels.
  • Homes can be modified to reduce radon levels.
  • New homes can be built with radon-resistant features.
  • South Carolina has nationally certified radon professionals who can measure radon and fix homes with elevated radon.

The South Carolina Radon Program provides radon test kits to homeowners free of charge. Request your free home test kit at www.scdhec.gov/radon. The program can be contacted at radon@dhec.sc.gov or (800) 768-0362.

Lung Cancer Awareness

By Sonya Younger, MBA, DHEC Division of Cancer Prevention and Control 

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In the United States, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, even though an extensive list of modifiable risk factors has long been identified. Approximately 4,040 South Carolinians will be diagnosed with lung cancer and an estimated 2,970 will die from the disease in 2015.  While smoking is, by far, the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, it is a disease that can affect anyone, so it is important for everyone to know the risks and look out for your health.

Causes of Lung Cancer

Tobacco use is the number one cause of lung cancer in the United States, causing 90 percent of all lung cancer, and it is completely preventable. No matter what your age or how long you have smoked, quitting now will make a difference in your health that you can feel. If you or someone you know would like to quit smoking, call the S.C. Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). For services in Spanish, call 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569).

Although lung cancer’s predominant cause is tobacco smoking, there are other causes as well. Radon, for example, is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers in the U.S. Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment and can seep into homes and buildings. To avoid exposure, it is a great idea to test your home for radon. Click here to order a free radon testing kit from DHEC.

The quality of the air you breathe can make a difference in your risk of lung cancer, so it is important to be mindful about the environment where you live and work and avoid exposure to carcinogen pollutants. Substances such as arsenic, asbestos, chromates, nickel, and other air-borne agents have been known to contribute to lung cancer. Outdoor air pollution, including smog and CO2 emissions from vehicles, is also a factor that can affect your lung health and contribute to lung cancer risk.

Guidelines for Screening

According to the American Cancer Society, patients who meet all of the following criteria may be candidates for lung cancer screening:

  • 55 to 74 years old
  • In fairly good health
  • Have at least a 30 pack-year smoking history
  • Are either still smoking or have quit smoking within the last 15 years

Patients should talk with their doctors about the benefits, limitations, and potential harms of lung cancer screening.

For more information about lung cancer, please visit the American Cancer Society’s website.

S.C. Youth Help Raise Awareness About Radon

By Cassandra Harris
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You can’t see or smell radon, but there might be a silent killer in your home. Linked to more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the nation and the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Helping to raise awareness of the health effects of radon, South Carolina students, ages nine to 14, recently submitted artwork as part of the 2015 S.C. Radon Poster Contest.

Selected from schools across the state, the students’ posters urge adults to test for radon and fix their homes when necessary. A total of 13 posters were selected to be included in the 2015 S.C. Radon Awareness Calendar. Announced at an award ceremony on January 21, 2015, at the S.C. State Museum in Columbia, this year’s contest winners include:

  • Gracie Driggers, Spaulding Elementary (1st Place)
  • Elizabeth Parrish, Forestbrook Middle School (2nd Place)
  • Andrea Martinez, Horse Creek Academy (3rd Place)
  • Colin Sauceda, Forestbrook Middle School (Honorable Mention)
  • Elizabeth Truluck, Myrtle Beach High School (Honorable Mention)
  • Sebastian O’Banion, Kennedy Middle School
  • Daylund Aistrop, Belton Middle School
  • Trinity Lincoln, Belton Middle School
  • Mellie Driggers, Spaulding Elementary
  • Destiny Garrido, CE Murray High School
  • Arden Kirk, Forestbrook Middle School
  • Anna Walker, Forestbrook Middle School
  • Serena Wallace, Ocean Bay Middle School

The top three entries were entered into the 2015 National Radon Poster Contest as part of National Radon Action Month.

Congratulations to all of our contest winners! Your artwork is currently displayed in local DHEC offices around the state and is helping to make a difference in the way South Carolinians think about radon.

To get more information on radon, to view the calendar and posters, or to request a free home test kit, visit www.scdhec.gov/radon.