Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Researchers discover link between radon and skin cancer

The indoor air quality in many North American homes
is affected by radon and other contaminants.
Radon, the naturally occurring radioactive gas that can build up in people’s homes, has been identified as a leading cause of lung cancer before – and now a study shows it may also have other health effects.

A new study suggests that a link may exist between radon exposure and non-melanoma skin cancer.

Researchers from the European Centre for Environment & Human Health (part of the Peninsula College of Medicine & Dentistry) have detected a connection following analysis of data on radon exposure and skin cancer cases from across southwest England.

The link was not evident in the development of malignant melanoma, the most common form of skin cancer, but it was found between areas where high radon concentrations are found and a particular type of non-melanoma skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.

"We know that naturally occurring radon is a contributing factor to a small proportion of lung cancers, but there is limited evidence of other health implications,” says the study’s lead author Dr. Ben Wheeler.

“These findings suggest that the issue of radon and skin cancer deserves a much closer look and we're planning to develop a more detailed study capable of detecting a direct relationship, if one actually exists.”

Health effects of radon exposure
Radon exposure has been linked to
lung cancer and now skin cancer.

EPA estimates that about 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon-related.  Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. 

According to EPA, two studies show definitive evidence of an association between residential radon exposure and lung cancer.

“These findings effectively end any doubts about the risks to Americans of having radon in their homes,” said Tom Kelly, Former Director of EPA’s Indoor Environments Division.  “We know that radon is a carcinogen.  This research confirms that breathing low levels of radon can lead to lung cancer.”

EPA recommends homes be fixed if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter) or more. Because there is no known safe level of exposure to radon, EPA also recommends that Americans consider fixing their home for radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L.

Indoor air quality at home

Radon is just one of many contaminants that can lead to poor indoor air quality and health effects.

Most North American homes, especially those with airtight construction and poor ventilation, suffer from indoor air contaminants such as chemicals and gases (like VOCs from cleaning agents, fragrances and building materials), particles and dust, mold, bacteria and viruses.

Using low-VOC products, natural cleaning agents and increasing ventilation all help to improve indoor air quality, but another easy and effective solution is a powerful home or office air purifier with activated carbon + HEPA.
AllerAir air purifiers

AllerAir’s portable air purifiers can remove the widest range of pollutants with its multistage filtration system.

The deep-bed activated carbon filter removes many gases, odors, chemicals and fumes, while the medical-grade or micro-HEPA traps tiny particles and pathogens. Pre-filters take care of larger particles and dust and protect the other filters’ lifespan.

For general purpose air purifiers or specialized units like MCS, Allergy and Asthma, Odor and Chemical Control, Mold and Tobacco Smoke, visit our website or contact AllerAir directly: 888-852-8247.