Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) January 15, 2009
Two radon-induced lung cancer survivors will be joined by two radon widows at an upcoming National Safety Council Radon Awards Ceremony at the National Press Club January 28th in Washington, DC. Co-sponsored by the U.S. EPA, the ceremony is part of National Radon Action Month (NRAM) and will recognize radon leaders and winners of the National Radon Poster Contest; but members of Cancer Survivors Against Radon (CanSAR) will utilize the event to express mounting frustration with a government radon policy deemed an "impotent and deadly failure" by Elizabeth Hoffmann, CanSAR President.
Scientists and investigators, including those testifying before the President's Cancer Panel and the EPA Office of the Inspector General have recently criticized the lack of measurable progress in reducing the number of radon-induced lung cancers in the 20 years since the passing of the Indoor Radon Abatement Act (IRAA).
Ms. Hoffmann of Milwaukee was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2003 at age 37. She never smoked and had no family history of lung cancer. Curious as to the cause, her father tested her home of 15+ years for radon. It measured 8.6 picocuries per liter, over twice EPA's current 4 pCi/L Action Level. She underwent surgery to remove the mass and lower left lobe and has since battled through re-occurrences in 2006 and 2008.
She'll be joined in DC by Barbara Sorgatz, Marlene MacEwan and Gloria Linnertz. Ms. Sorgatz of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, had the upper lobe of her left lung removed in February of 2007. Like Hoffmann, she never smoked. Equally puzzled, she researched the Internet to learn radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. Following surgery, a radon test revealed she'd been living for 23 years in concentrations over 5 times EPA's Action Level.
Ms. MacEwan and Ms. Linnertz both lost their husbands to radon-induced lung cancer and have vowed to actively pursue a government action to prevent radon exposure.
"The EPA Radon Program has been around for 22 years, yet today we have more homes with elevated levels of airborne radiation than we did at the start," says Hoffmann. "And no one's even talking about radon in the workplace."
"While I respect the efforts of Agency employees, until there is a genuine commitment by Congress to producing results, I see little reason to celebrate," says Linnertz referring to NRAM awards ceremony. "People are needlessly dying. We urge the EPA Administrator to use the regulatory power granted by Congress to implement a national program that actually works. We will be demanding action from our Senators and Representatives."
Sara Speer Selber, President of BuildClean, a nonprofit organization promoting safe and healthy homes joins CanSAR in calling for government action to help protect Americans from indoor radon exposure. "Voluntary efforts just haven't convinced the public that the risk of radon exposure in the home from soil-gas entry as well as building materials is very real." says Selber. "We think a radon test should be required in order to qualify for a government-sponsored mortgage."
The consensus among scientists is over 21,000 Americans die of radon-induced lung cancer annually.