06 Dec What are the Symptoms of Radon Exposure?
According to the World Health Organization, it is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. Some of the symptoms of radon exposure are:
Shortness of breath
Coughing up blood
Frequent infections like bronchitis and pneumonia
Loss of appetite
Most people with lung cancer do not have symptoms until the cancer is advanced. Jackie was fortunate that her cancer was found in its early stages. A month after diagnosis, she had surgery to remove the cancer from her lung. She never had radiation treatment, chemotherapy, or medication and was back singing with her choir within three months.
It was not until seven months after her surgery that the home inspector asked her if she had heard of radon. Learning about radon and its connection to lung cancer finally started Jackie down the path toward answering how she got cancer and toward her current passionate commitment to protecting others from radon-associated lung cancer.
Jackie lived in her condominium for 32 years, but had never tested it for radon. Radon is measured in units of picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. EPA recommends installing a radon reduction system if your home radon level is above 4 pCi/L. She tested her building and found that the radon levels were 18 pCi/L on one side and 9 pCi/L on the other. Immediately, Jackie alerted the condo association, and they hired a certified radon mitigation company to make repairs that reduced the radon levels to help protect her neighbors and future residents in the building.
Jackie didn’t stop there. She became the communication and marketing director for Citizens for Radioactive Radon Reduction (CR3), where she dedicates her time to raising awareness about the risks of radon. CR3 works on initiatives like the National Radon Action Plan, a strategy launched through a private-public partnership with 14 organizations, including CDC and EPA.
It’s even more important to test our homes now that we keep the windows closed here in Albuquerque. By keeping warm air in, we also trap radon and in the northern parts of New Mexico, radon is known to be found in many homes and businesses. Test your home and office every two years!