Beware of gas

Environmental agencies encourage Americans to test for radon

Radon, a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that seeps out of the ground and can enter homes, was identified recently as the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers in the United States, according to the American Lung Association.

The leading cause of lung cancer, of course, is smoking.

Each year, radon gas causes more deaths in the United States than any other in-home hazard, including fires and carbon-monoxide deaths combined.

The World Health Organization and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have issued a “call to action” for Americans to test their homes for the gas, which is invisible and odorless. The EPA estimates that nearly 8 million American homes have elevated levels of radon, and that if action is not taken to correct the problem, 15,000-22,000 deaths will occur in 2010 alone.