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The Widower's Wife Fact #5

The carcinogen beneath the floorboards.

Lung cancer is overwhelmingly caused by smoking. But there's a colorless, odorless culprit that causes the remaining 10% of lung cancer deaths not tied to cigarettes. And it lurks in ordinary basements.

Radon is a radioactive gas that seeps from the soil into homes through foundation cracks, ground level windows, improperly filled sump pumps and well water--poisoning indoor air. The acceptable exposure level in the U.S. is 4 PCI/L. Other countries, such as Canada, set it lower.

Tests are available via Amazon and in hardware stores. Radon elimination sytems often include adding ventilation in the basement and patching any cracks in the foundation that may be allowing the gas to come through. Sources: American Lung Association, United States Environmental Protection Agency

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