January is National Radon Action Month. Each year, over 20,000 lives are lost to radon-induced lung cancer in the United States, second only to cigarette smoking. For nonsmokers, radon exposure is the single greatest factor in the development of lung cancer. Clark County is particularly prone to high levels of household radon due to the geology of our soil. Fortunately, it is simple and inexpensive to test one’s home to determine if an issue exists. And if one does, the engineering solution is straightforward and effective.
There has been a long-standing perception in our county that radon is “a Portland problem,” given the media attention focused on areas such as Alameda Ridge. Yet over 20 years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency categorized Clark County as “Zone 1,” the highest potential for unhealthy household radon levels. This categorization is higher than any county in Oregon.
For further information, visit www.epa.gov/radon or contact Mike Brennan with the Washington State Department of Health’s Radon Outreach Program in Olympia. As a consultant in the radon field, I recommend everyone test their home, regardless of its age, for this silent, invisible killer.