(KUTV) An aggressive non-smoking related lung cancer is killing more than 20, 000 Americans every year.
Health officials know the strongest cause of this cancer is an odorless, colorless gas, called radon.
Click the graphic below to be one of the first 50 to win a FREE radon test kit. After the giveaway is over, you can still purchase the kit for only $7.95.
Even though officials know the danger to all of us -- not much is being done about this common killer.
Lynn Astle and his wife Marian moved into a beautiful home in Provo 18 years ago.
Little did they know the house was filling her lungs with radiation and damaging her DNA. Astle's wife of 48 years died of non-smoking lung cancer within a month of first feeling sick. dr. Akerly
Radon is a radioactive gas," says Dr. Wallace Akerly with the Huntsman Cancer Institute. "That is a breakdown product of uranium. It seeps up and lives in our houses.
The state of Utah has the lowest rate of smokers in the country, yet the federal EPA, and the Utah State Environmental Quality office rank it near the middle for lung cancers, because of radon.
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"We are seeing really high levels," says Utah DEQ spokesperson Eleanor Divver. "I was working with a gentleman in the south end of the valley with 143 picocuries -- so just to give you perspective, that's like smoking 14 packs of cigarettes every day."
The number four is considered dangerous.
This is the house that hit 143. The owners say a neighbor's reading came in high, so they were curious.. Then worried.
This is how they fix the problem in an existing home.
"it's continuously ventilating that soil and exhausting the radon up and above the eaves of the house so it doesn't gather in the basement, says, Travis Jewell founder of Radovent, a radon mitigation service.
Radon is in old homes, new homes schools, and office buildings. It causes cancer, but the only program fighting it in Utah is this is only one part-time DEQ employee running the entire awareness program.
Nationally, the EPA has a whole page devoted to radon education but no regulations for testing, or requirements on new construction.
"It's just unheard of that we don't make people aware of it," Dr. Akerly says. "When they find out it's the biggest shock. They can't believe that no one is helping them."
Dr. Akerly treats these cancer patients and says if you don't test for radon your essentially have a cigarette smoking room in your basement
As non-smokers, Lynn Astle's family was surprised there was no plan to fight radon.
"Knowing the way our country works the awareness program is going to have to work for a long time. Before we regulate," Lynn Astle said.
It took three mitigation systems to clear his house -- costing more than $1,000 each.
KUTV got access to some free radon test kits for our viewers.
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