Radon is found to pose a risk for blood cancer


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A new study links a higher risk for women contracting blood borne cancer from radon in counties with the highest concentrations of the radioactive gas. The study, based on a sampling of 140,000 people was published in the journal Environmental Research.

Radon is a radioactive gas that naturally occurs from the decay of uranium in the ground, and as the gas seeps out of the ground, it gets into your home. It has been identified as the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.

Now, as Dr. Philip McCarthy, the Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Center at Roswell Park Cancer Institute said, radon is being linked to a rare form of leukemia, with women at a higher risk.

“It could be speculated that women who are homemakers would be at risk for being exposed. Why? Because they are at home more that somebody who works outside the home. That was not looked at in the study, because they did not have that level of detail.”

The highest concentrations of radon are in the Southern Tier, but Erie County does have a couple of relative hot spots: the area in the zip code 14102 for the Town of Marilla, and the Town of Arcade zip code, 14009, that lies right on the Erie County line, but is in Wyoming County.

Dr. McCarthy said the study points out, the occurrence of leukemia linked to radon is in areas with high concentration, so residents should know radon is in their midst, and fortunately there things homeowners can do about it.

“You can have your house, and particularly your basement, tested for radon, and if it is high you can get it abated, or taken care of. So that is the good thing.”

Homeowners can get a radon test kit from the state for as little as $11.00, and there are ways of mitigating radon in your home for as little as $200.00. Here is the State Health Department’s link to a guide for protecting your family from radon.

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