How Can I Be Exposed To Radon
People who work in mines or facilities that process uranium, or who come into contact with phosphate fertilizers, are among those facing the most exposure to high concentrations of radon.
The general public may be exposed to radon inside of any building thats located on soil from which radon naturally emanates, whether its your home, workplace or school.
Radon enters through cracks in a structures foundation and walls. The basement and ground-level floor of buildings and homes tend to have higher concentrations of radon than other floors. Low levels of radon emitted from building materials, granite countertops and well water may also contribute to exposure.
Elevated levels of radon may be detected in about one in 15 homes in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency . The EPA publishes a county-by-county map showing regions where high concentrations of radon are most likely.
What Are The Top Tips To Avoid Exposure
- Discuss with your medical care team whether or not X-rays or CT scans are necessary and whether there are radiation-free alternatives. If you decide to seek out a second opinion, request that the original screening information be shared, to minimize the need for a second set of exposures if they are not necessary.
- Workers should follow recommended health and safety guidelines when working with any type of radiation, whether administering the radiation or taking part in a procedure where radiation is used.
- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended against the use of routine mammography screening before the age of 50 , but supported the use of biennial screening between the ages of 50 and 75. Discuss with your doctor when you should begin regular mammograms, and how often they should be done, based on your individual family history and risk for breast cancer.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
United Kingdom National Radiation Protection Board. Risk of radiation-induced cancer at low doses and low-dose rates for radiation protection purposes. Documents of the NRPB 6, 25 . .
Reducing Lung Cancer Risk Through Radon Testing
Lung cancer is the second deadliest form of cancer in both men and women, after prostate and breast cancer. Lung cancer is cancer that begins in the lungs and most often occurs in people who smoke.
While the majority of lung cancer is caused by tobacco smoking, said Dr. Craig Donaldson, MD, radiation oncologist at the Intermountain St. George Cancer Center, taking any particulate into the lungs can put people at risk for lung cancer. Vaping, smoking marijuana, or exposure to certain toxins such as asbestos or radon, can increase the risk of lung cancer.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that has no smell, taste, or color. It comes from the decay of uranium that is found in almost all rock and soil. Outdoors, radon levels never reach dangerous concentrations because air movement scatters radon into the atmosphere. Radon can become dangerous when it rises from the ground and collects inside buildings and homes – especially basements.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that get trapped in the lungs when inhaled. The particles, in turn, damage the lungs and may lead to lung cancer. Not everyone exposed to radon will develop lung cancer, but risk increases with higher levels of radon, length of exposure, and if you also smoke.
In order to know if you are at a higher risk for lung cancer from radon exposure, you must find out if radon exists in your home.
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Overall Discussion And Conclusions
In general, the state of the evidence does not support a substantial relationship between the environment and breast cancer risk. Breast cancer mortality and incidence varies modestly throughout the country. However, lifestyle patterns influencing reproductive breast cancer risk factors explain a large proportion of the differences, and are therefore more likely to be responsible for this pattern than differences in widespread regional level environmental pollution. Results from studies of exposure to organochlorines have been inconclusive the most recent evidence in prospective analyses does not support an association with breast cancer risk. Ionizing radiation is a known risk factor for breast cancer, but the levels to which the general population is exposed are too low to cause an effect. Occupational studies of EMF exposure have been inconclusive however, residential studies imply that there is no risk associated with overhead power lines. Electric blanket users might experience some increased risk over nonusers, but these results require replication. Women exposed to passive smoke could experience an increased risk of breast cancer, but there is no evidence of a dose-effect, and results from studies of direct smoking are not as strong.
Who Is Most Vulnerable To The Health Effects Of Ionizing Radiation
- Everyone should be aware of the potential health hazards of ionizing radiation, but some women are more vulnerable than others to its health effects. Women carrying the BRCA1 mutation have deficits in many cell processes and a heightened sensitivity to the effects of radiation exposures. These women are more likely to develop breast cancer and may be especially susceptible to the cancer-inducing effects of exposure to ionizing.,,,This is especially true if women began exposures, including from mammography, at age 30 or earlier.
- The detrimental risks from mammography might also be heightened in older women, whose breast epithelial cells have gone through several decades of cell division. Cells derived from older womens breast tissue were more sensitive to the DNA-damaging effects of low-energy radiation, increasing the likelihood of later conversion to cancerous cells.
- However, a recent laboratory study in rats indicates that having given birth and lactating the young was protective against development of breast cancersespecially ER+/PR+ tumorsin animals that had been exposed to radiation before puberty. This protective effect was not found if the animals had been exposed to the radiation as young adults.
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Does Radon Cause Breast Cancer
Naturally-occurring radon can be found at higher than recommended levels in some peoples homes. A recent US study examined a potential link between radon exposure and breast cancer to help shed light on the question does radon cause breast cancer?
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death among women worldwide. There are different types of breast tumors according to their responsiveness to various hormones and the expression of proteins. Most breast cancers are estrogen-receptor positive and grow in response to the hormone estrogen. About two-thirds of these are also progesterone-receptor positive. In about a fifth of breast cancers, the cells make too much of a protein known as HER2. Between 10-20% of breast cancers are triple-negative, which means there are no estrogen and progesterone receptors and no expression of the HER2 protein. Some geographic variations of breast cancer incidence suggest that environmental factors may also play a role in its development.
High levels of naturally-occurring radon found in some homes
Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas found in air, soil, rocks, and water. The main source of indoor radon is from soil gas entering homes through foundation cracks.
They recently the results in the journal Environmental Health.
Assessing associations between radon exposure and breast cancer
Environmental radon exposure not associated with overall risk of breast cancer
Written by: Julie McShane, Medical Writer
What Evidence Links Ionizing Radiation To Breast Cancer
Exposure to ionizing radiation is the best-established and longest-established environmental cause of human breast cancer in both men and women. Most scientists agree that no safe dose of radiation has been identified., Repeated low-dose exposures over time may have the same harmful effects as a single high-dose exposure.
- Studies show increased risk of breast cancer among radiological technologists who began working during their teens or were working in the field before the 1940s.,
- It was also found that technologists who began working before 1950 and had worked for at least five years had an increased mortality rate from breast cancer. Levels of exposure before 1950 were much higher than those found for technologists today.
- A review and analysis of all existing related studies found that women who work as airline flight attendants were exposed to higher cosmic radiation while flying and also had increased levels of breast cancer.
Although there has been a substantial decrease in exposures to ionizing radiation from individual X-rays over the past several decades, there has been a six-fold increase in overall exposure to medical sources of radiation.,A recent estimate of all cancers attributable to medical radiation exposures in France found that the largest number was for breast cancer.
Backscatter security scanners
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Myth : Reducing The Radon Level Inside Your Home Is Very Expensive
The process, called radon mitigation, is easier than most people think. Rather than trying to seal the house so that radon doesnt seep in at all, the most common method diverts the radon gas from under the basement floor through a pipe to the outside either through the roof like a chimney or through a wall to a vent. Once outdoors, the radon gas dissipates and is not a hazard.
Radon mitigation systems usually cost between $800 and $1,500. A lot of companies are doing this now because of the EPAs push to inform people about the potential risks of radon, Dr. Dauer says.
Should You Test Your Home
If you haven’t tested your home for radon, the first step would be to forget about your countertops and do radon testing for your home. Your chance of being exposed to radon in your home is much greater than your chance of exposure from your countertops. In fact, raising a concern about granite countertops without testing your home could be considered analogous to being worried about secondhand smoke, while continuing to smoke yourself. Kits are available at most hardware stores. If your level is high, radon mitigation is recommended.
If you wish to get an idea on your own if your granite countertops are of concern, you might consider doing one radon test in the lowest level of your home, and another in the room where you have a granite countertop. If you try this, it is recommended that you place both kits at least 20 inches off the floor, and at least 20 inches away from the granite countertop. If the levels are abnormal, retest both areas to get a second reading.
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How To Detect Lung Cancer Early
When lung cancer is caught early, its easier to successfully treat the disease using effective and appropriate treatment.
Aimed at improving early detection of lung cancer, a recent national lung screening trial looked at the benefits of using a low-dose CT scan, rather than a typical chest X-ray, to screen for lung cancer. Compared to a traditional CT scan, a low-dose scan produces five times less radiation. As it turns out, the study found that people who were screened with the low-dose CT scan had a greater chance of survival than those who got standard chest X-rays.
Soon after the results of this massive clinical trial were published, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force put new guidelines in place, recommending yearly lung cancer screening using low-dose CT scans for people who are considered at high risk for developing lung cancer.
Screening really is our best tool to find lung cancer before it advances into serious stages, says Brahmer.
People considered at high risk for developing lung cancer:
Have a history of heavy smoking .
Are current smokers or former smokers who quit within the past 15 years.
Are between the ages of 55 and 80.
If your doctor detects anything abnormal during a lung cancer screening, diagnostic tests, including other scans and biopsies , are the next step. Read more about prevention, diagnosis and treatment at Johns Hopkins.
Exposure To Radon Causes Lung Cancer In Non
- Lung cancer kills thousands of Americans every year. Smoking, radon, and secondhand smoke are the leading causes of lung cancer. Although lung cancer can be treated, the survival rate is one of the lowest for those with cancer. From the time of diagnosis, between 11 and 15 percent of those afflicted will live beyond five years, depending upon demographic factors. In many cases lung cancer can be prevented.
- Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Smoking causes an estimated 160,000* cancer deaths in the U.S. every year . And the rate among women is rising. On January 11, 1964, Dr. Luther L. Terry, then U.S. Surgeon General, issued the first warning on the link between smoking and lung cancer. Lung cancer now surpasses breast cancer as the number one cause of death among women. A smoker who is also exposed to radon has a much higher risk of lung cancer.
- Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. On January 13, 2005, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the U.S. Surgeon General, issued a national health advisory on radon.
- World Health Organization’s international radon project
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How Long Does It Take For Radon To Give You Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the United States, taking 160,000 lives every single year. That’s more than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer combined. 171,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year.
If you are exposed to radon, how long would it take for it to cause lung cancer? Continue reading to find out.
Does Radon Cause Other Diseases
It is generally assumed that inhaled radon gas is quickly exhaled and has little time during its circulation through the body to deposit its radioactive products in human organs, tissues, or bones. However, the story may be more complicated. Some scientists believe that radon dissolved in the blood may cause additional diseases beside lung cancer. In addition to the gas, one-third of the inhaled radon decay particles also pass through the lungs into the blood stream and then, get trapped.
As we breathe in through the skin, the air also carries radon gas. Some studies suggest that the radiation dose to the basal layers of the skin is high with a consequent risk of skin cancer.
Radon gas is soluble in lipids and accumulates in lipid tissue throughout the body with the highest concentration in the brain, bone marrow, and nervous system. But none of its heavy metal daughters are soluble in the lipids and consequently, remain trapped in the brain and bones, where they continue to emit gamma radiation and alpha particles. Several studies indicate that radon also causes leukemia and other types of cancers.
Animals exposed to high concentrations of radon progeny display beside lung carcinoma emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, and a shortened life span.
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How Does Radon Get Into Your Home
Radon is a radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.
Radon from soil gas is the main cause of radon problems. Sometimes radon enters the home through well water . In a small number of homes, the building materials can give off radon, too. However, building materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves.
Radon Gets In Through:
- Cavities inside walls
- The water supply
Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels. Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in your state. Contact your state radon office for general information about radon in your area. While radon problems may be more common in some areas, any home may have a problem. The only way to know about your home is to test.
Radon can also be a problem in schools and workplaces. Ask your state radon office about radon problems in schools, daycare and childcare facilities, and workplaces in your area.
How Can I Find The Radon Levels In My Home
Radon tests are divided into short-term tests and long-term tests, which is anything from 3 to 12 months.
The most commonly used device for making short-term radon measurements in homes is the charcoal canister. Usually this device is a small metal container, about the size and shape of a can of tuna fish, that contains activated charcoal. The radon in the air is adsorbed on the charcoal and the decay products can then be measured by a laboratory to determine the concentration of radon in the air. These devices are fairly quick, inexpensive, and easy to use, but their accuracy is only Â± 20 percent. The NYS DOH recommends that the average of two charcoal canister measurements be used before making a decision to mitigate.
Another type of short-term test is the continuous electronic radon monitor. These devices generally produce more precise radon measurements, however they are more expensive and should only be used by certified professional radon testing firms. Continuous radon monitors are often used during real estate transactions, because they are more tamper resistant than charcoal canisters.
Whether you choose to use short-term or long-term testing devices, be sure that the device is analyzed and the results reported to you by a NYS DOH Environmental Lab Approval Program certified lab. ELAP certification ensures that the results obtained from an individual or firm are accurate and reliable. Please contact ELAP, if you have any questions, at 485-5570 or .
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