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Be aware of odorless, tasteless, silent killers

Staff Report • Jan 6, 2012 at 8:27 AM

January has been designated as National Radon Awareness Month. Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency want to use this month to call attention to a killer that you can’t see, smell or even taste.

Radon gas is a deadly intruder in the homes of many Americans. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths.

In fact, the EPA says radon gas is responsible for more than 20,000 deaths annually in the United States. Radon claimed more lives in 2011 than drunken driving, house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning combined.

Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It is found in offices, schools and homes all across the country. It is particularly prevalent is areas of Northeast Tennessee. That’s why it’s important to determine the risks posed by radon in your home or office.

Testing — which is easy and inexpensive — is the only way to know if your home or office is at risk from radon. The EPA recommends testing all buildings below the third floor for radon.

You can obtain more information on the dangers of radon and how to obtain a testing kit by calling a toll-free radon hotline operated by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation at 800-232-1139.

Carbon monoxide is another deadly gas — one that is impossible to detect with your senses. Fortunately, carbon monoxide detectors can provide an early warning to a building’s occupants before the deadly gas climbs to a dangerous level. Each home or business should have at least one carbon monoxide detector.

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