An estimated 400 deaths per year in Iowa are caused by radon-induced lung cancer. That is approximately the number of Iowans who die in traffic accidents each year. All of Iowa's 99 counties have the highest potential for radon levels and is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Gail Orcutt, who contracted lung cancer in 2010 from exposure to radon and has had major health struggles ever since. Orcutt has also become an advocate for radon testing and mitigation systems in homes and schools. There have been several bills brought to the Iowa Legislature that Orcutt has been a part of, including House File 755.
Julie Weisshaar also joins the program to speak about the Energy Association of Iowa Schools whose mission is to assist school across Iowa to test their grounds for radon and installing mitigation systems. The EAIS testing results show that nearly 42% of the schools they have tested show slight radon elevations.
The Iowa Department of Health provides information that explains the science of radon and access to resources for testing your home for radon.
"Radon is a natural radioactive gas that can cause cancer. You can’t see, smell or taste it, but radon may be in your home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the first leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer in smokers.
According to the EPA, the entire state of Iowa is considered at high risk for radon gas in homes. High levels of radon can be found in any type of home, so it is important for everyone to test their home.
The Iowa Department of Public Health contracts with the American Lung Association to maintain the Health Air - Radon in Iowa website, and staff Iowa's Radon Hotline. You can reach the Hotline by calling 1-800-383-5992 to order low-cost radon test kits and find answers to your radon questions. Operating hours are 8:30 am (CST) through 4:30 pm (CST). If you are calling after standard operating hours, the automated messaging service will record your message and a staff member will return your call.”
Gail Orcutt, Lung Cancer Survivor
Julie Weisshaar, Executive Director, Energy Assocation of Iowa Schools