COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It’s an invisible and silent killer, and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. January is Radon Action Month, which is a gas that comes from the ground’s decomposing rocks. But even though this gas is deadly, you cannot taste it, smell it or see it.
Radon is especially dangerous when it’s trapped inside your home or where you work. It finds its way inside through holes and cracks. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, high levels of radon exposure have been linked to more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year. Any home is at risk, and elevated radon levels have been found in almost every county in South Carolina.
The only way to know if you have radon in your home is to perform a test.
Nicholas Jarrett, an operations manager with Greenville Radon Specialist says, “Over an extended period of time, the exposure levels can possibly cause lung cancer. So, the more radon that there is over a longer period of time, the higher the risk is for gaining lung cancer from that. We recommend that everyone has their home tested and if you do have elevated levels then there’s nothing you can do about the past, but we do recommend that you get it mitigated below the EPA Action Level, which is 4.0 pCi/L.”
Before Radon Action Month comes to an end, local organizations across the Midlands are encouraging families to order a home radon test kit.
One Chicago woman is also pushing people to test their homes through Rachel’s Radon Challenge. If you buy a radon test kit, she’ll match it. That way you can give the second test to someone else, so they can make sure their home is safe from the deadly gas too.
Rachel Malmberg is a former collegiate and Olympic athlete who was balancing her career and parenthood when, in 2017, she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer as a result of radon exposure – something Malmberg says was completely preventable.
Malmberg questions whether people recognize just how many families are being affected by radon, asking, “Did you know that every 25 minutes a person in the United States is dying of radon induced lung cancer?”
Now she’s challenging everyone to catch radon before it strikes.
“When you purchase a Radon Test Kit for your home, we will send you a second one to raise awareness and give to someone else to prevent them from continuing to breathe in a radioactive gas. Again, if it can happen to me it can happen to anyone. Join me in the month of January by making a stand. Save someone else’s life along with yours,” Malmberg said.
If you’re interested in taking on that challenge, visit the radon challenge website here.
DHEC also has a limited number of free home radon test kits. For more information, visit the DHEC website here.