Testing for radon in homes suggested to avoid lung cancer

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - It's been known to cause more than 20-thousand deaths a year nationwide due to lung cancer, and it could be in the air of your home right now.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas known to cause lung cancer. Homes tested in central Nebraska tend to have concentrations of radon above recommended levels.

Those increased levels put everyone in the home at risk, according to Michele Bever, the executive director of the South Heartland Health District in Hastings, Neb.

"Cancer could be caused in anybody. Everybody is at risk really," said Bever. "Perhaps children are even more at risk because their lungs are still developing and actively growing, so there may be an even higher risk for the children.

A simple test kit used to detect radon is available from health agencies and hardware stores. The lowest used level of the home is where the kits are recommended to be placed.

Officials suggest that homes be tested every two years.

"If you have crack in your foundation, or if something else changes like maybe you put in a new HVAC system. That might change the way gasses are drawn into and released from your homes," said Bever.

Test kits hang in a home for two-to-seven days, after which they are shipped to a lab for results.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.