Radon: The Worst Hazard Your Employees Have Never Heard Of

Many of your employees probably have never heard of radon, much less realized that it might be in their homes, threatening their families. Now, in time for National Radon Action Month, here’s the info they need about this hidden hazard.

If there’s a safety training topic you’ve never dealt with before, this one might be it—radon safety. Why bother dealing with it now?

The reason is that January has been designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as National Radon Action Month. Here’s some important information about radon and health to pass along to your employees.

What are the hazards? Radon is a naturally occurring gas. You can’t see, smell, or taste it. Outdoors it’s harmlessly dispersed in the air, but when trapped inside a building, it becomes a health problem. If high levels of radon are trapped in your home, for example, it could make your whole family sick.

The main hazard of radon is lung cancer. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, radon is responsible for an alarming number of new cases of lung cancer every year. That danger increases if many of your employees have no knowledge of this hazard. Some have never even heard of radon, much less that it could be present in their homes, and affect the their health and that of their families.

What can employees do about radon? EPA and the Surgeon General urge all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes for radon. Testing for high levels is simple and inexpensive. Radon test kits that meet EPA requirements are available at local hardware stores and home improvement stores, many kits for less than $25. If the test indicates dangerous levels of radon in a home, prompt action should be taken to correct the problem. This generally requires the services of an experienced professional contractor.

How can you and your workers get more information about radon? Log on to EPA’s website at You can also call the agency’s Washington, D.C. phone number 202-343-9370, or contact an EPA regional office (see the blue pages of your phone book). The EPA website provides a state-by-state list of radon information programs.

Some states also maintain lists of private contractors available, and a few even have state-run mitigation programs. There are also privately run programs on the EPA website that provide information about radon mitigation and recommend qualified contractors.

Why It Matters…

–Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America and the second leading cause of lung cancer overall (smokers and nonsmokers).

–According to the U.S. Surgeon General, radon claims the lives of over 20,000 Americans each year.

–A simple, inexpensive test can warn of dangerous levels of radon in the home.

–Most of your employees probably aren’t even aware of the risk, or what to do about it.


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