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PA and Partners Establish a Plan to Eliminate Preventable Lung Cancer Deaths from Radon

PA and Partners Establish a Plan to Eliminate Preventable Lung Cancer Deaths from Radon
Contact Information: EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

LENEXA, KAN. (FEB. 2, 2022) – Fourteen organizations representing the Federal government, states, Tribes, industry and non-profit sectors have announced a new plan to protect public health and reduce the risks of radon, “The National Radon Action Plan (NRAP) 2021–2025.” The NRAP is a public-private partnership spearheaded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Lung Association with a shared goal of preventing 3,500 deaths annually from radon-induced lung cancer.

“Exposure to radon is a persistent threat to public health, causing thousands of lung cancer deaths each year,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “The National Radon Action Plan announced today will help us better protect the health and wellbeing of communities across the nation by providing the tools and training to prevent radon-induced lung cancer.”

“In our country, nearly 1 in 15 homes has elevated levels of radon, and we must work collectively to address this health hazard,” said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman. “The National Radon Action Plan’s public-private collaboration will accelerate radon reduction and prevention and drive equitable action to protect underserved communities. HUD will continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners to reduce the harmful effects of radon exposure.”

“Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the U.S., so we must do everything we can to reduce preventable risk factors like radon,” said Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Because radon is so widespread, it will take an aggressive and coordinated approach to address the health risks from this radioactive gas in all buildings, including homes, apartments, schools and workplaces. The new National Radon Action Plan presents a great path forward for the nation to prevent lung cancer from radon and save lives.”

NRAP 2021–25 sets a goal for the nation to find, fix and prevent high indoor radon levels in 8 million buildings by 2025 and prevent at least 3,500 lung cancer deaths per year. The plan revolves around actions that will save lives by fixing existing buildings, constructing new buildings with radon-resistant features, and expand the certified, professional radon workforce. It also spotlights addressing radon as a health equity challenge and prioritizes new strategies to reduce radon risk in underserved communities, particularly low-income populations and communities of color.

The NRAP 2021–25 is the third installment of a strategy to increase action on radon. It began with the Federal Radon Action Plan 2010–15, which led to protections from radon in approximately 100,000 multi-family homes annually, among other federal actions. The Federal Radon Action Plan was expanded in 2015 to include eight non-governmental organizations through the NRAP 2015–20, which resulted in actions that are saving nearly 2,000 lives annually. Read more about the impacts of the NRAP 2015-20 at Reflection on the National Radon Action Plan’s (NRAP) Progress, 2015-2020.

Radon is a radioactive gas that can seep up from the soil into homes, schools and other buildings. Since radon is invisible and odorless, dangerous levels can exist indoors without occupants knowing. Testing is the only way to determine the indoor radon level in a building. Exposure to radon causes an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually in the United States. Fortunately, straightforward and effective approaches are available for reducing indoor radon and when used properly, they can prevent radon-induced lung cancer and save lives.

Find more information on radon and the National Radon Action Plan.

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