Front of the School of Public Health

Prescription for Radon

Originally presented on September 19, 2013

Paul A. Locke, MPH, DrPH
Director, DrPH Program in Environmental Health Sciences
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Gloria Linnertz
Radon Activist and Advocate

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there will be more cancer deaths due to radon exposure than cancer deaths caused by other sources of environmental contamination. Lung cancer kills tens of thousands of Americans every year. Smoking, radon, and secondhand smoke are the leading causes of lung cancer. Although lung cancer can be treated, the survival rate is one of the lowest for those with cancer. From the time of diagnosis, between 11 and 15% of those afflicted with the disease live beyond five years, depending on demographic factors. In many cases lung cancer can be prevented; this is especially true for radon. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers and overall, is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year.

In the past few years, Radon Leaders within the United States have been hosting forums specifically directed toward physicians and health professionals which have identified a gap in the awareness and knowledge of radon as a health risk throughout the professional medical community. These deficiencies in risk communication to patients can be improved and by promoting increased knowledge of health risk, can prompt increased awareness of radon in New York.

The webcast will provide detailed information on the health risks of radon, the prevalence of radon in New York State, and how to appropriately communicate the risk of lung cancer due to radon to their patients.

Program Objectives
After watching this broadcast participants will be able to:

  • Describe the health risks and effects of prolonged exposure to radon
  • Identify at least 2 resources to assist with patient education
  • List effective strategies to communicate about the risk of radon exposure