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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 26, 2004

UI Expert Urges Testing Of All Homes For Radon

A University of Iowa radiation expert is urging all Iowans to have their homes tested for radon, an odorless, colorless and tasteless radioactive gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Radon causes an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year.

With most Iowa residents living in areas with high radon potential, R. William Field (left), Ph.D., UI associate professor of occupational and environmental health and epidemiology, recommends radon testing for both new and older homes.

"People living in Iowa should be especially concerned since Iowa has the highest average radon concentrations in the nation," Field noted. "In fact, the average individual in Iowa receives over 70 percent of their yearly total radiation dose from radon exposure."

Field has teamed up with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in their nationwide public education campaign designed to inform Americans about radon, its dangers and steps they can easily take to reduce their risks from the gas.

Do-it-yourself radon test kits cost generally cost around $25. Most homes found to have high levels of radon can be mitigated to reduce the gas from their homes at a modest cost.

"Radon testing is easy and inexpensive," Field said. "Testing is the only way to determine if elevated radon concentrations exist in your home or workplace."

The EPA and other public health organizations nationwide have dedicated January as National Radon Action Month to encourage the public to test their homes for radon and get radon problems fixed. For more information about radon, visit www.epa.gov/radon. For information about the Iowa Radon Lung Cancer Study visit http://www.epa.gov/iaq/radon/iowastudy.html. To get a radon test kit at substantially reduced cost ($5), call the Iowa Radon Coalition of Public Health Departments toll free at 800-206-7818.

STORY SOURCE: The University of Iowa College of Public Health, Office of Communications, 4261 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dan McMillan, 319-335-6835, daniel-mcmillan@uiowa.edu