Radon gas has been identified as the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers according to
several recent world-wide studies. The World Health Organization states that as many as 14% of
the lung cancer cases in many countries (including the United States) are caused by exposure to
radon gas. These recent findings have lead to the establishment of a new standard for action of 2.7
for indoor radon levels.
The World Health Organization has released their Handbook on Indoor Radon which strongly
validates the worldwide threat of exposure to radon gas. According to handbook, WHO has been
studying the effects of radon exposure since 1979. Although radon was classified as a human
carcinogen in 1988, it took over 20-years of sound research and real-life studies from all over the
world to confirm the true magnitude of the risk radon poses. Based on the results of these studies,
WHO now suggests that homeowners take action when radon levels exceed 2.7 pCi/l. This is a
much more conservative figure than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA's) action level of 4.0
pCi/l, which has been the U.S. standard for over 20-years.
More than 100 scientists from 30 countries have participated in the World Health Organization
International Radon Project since 2005 which has lead to the publishing of the WHO Handbook on
Indoor Radon this year. The book is a useful resource for concerned homeowners or anyone who
wants to learn more about the toxic carcinogen known as radon. It outlines the years of research
and the very conclusive findings that have triggered a push for stricter legislation and construction
practices that will reduce the risk of indoor radon exposure to the general population.
The United Nations also broke new ground in the international fight on radon-induced lung cancer
earlier this year when they released their acknowledgement of the radon problems throughout the
world. They analyzed both residential studies as well as extrapolated data from underground miner
studies to confirm the previously understated radon risk.
Exposure to radon gas causes approximately 20,000 deaths each year in the United States. All
major health organizations (including The American Medical Association, National Cancer Institute,
and American Lung Association) for years have known that radon increases lung cancer risk.
However, recent studies have confirmed that the risk is evident even at levels much lower than
earlier studies suggested. The good news is this: Radon testing is easy and inexpensive. Homes
with elevated radon levels (even at 2.7) can be fixed using current radon remediation technology.