Most people have heard the phrase “If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer.” Many also know about radon, the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in the US. Every year in January, which is Radon Action Month, the news media feature reports and articles encouraging people to test their homes to keep themselves and their families safe from this deadly gas. We also see more and more efforts encouraging radon testing in schools, as high radon levels have been detected in classrooms throughout the country, putting school children and staff members in danger. What gets less attention, however, is the effect of radon on animals. Most pet owners would consider their pets to be part of the family, and their lungs also need to be protected from radon.
According to a 2017 survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 68% of American households have a pet. APPA also calculated that over 69 billion dollars were spent on pets in 2017. These numbers show that pets are members of the majority of families in the U.S., and a lot of money is spent keeping them happy and healthy. Radon testing is a worthwhile step toward that cause, and benefits not just pets but all members of the family.
Radon’s Effect on Animals
Just like humans, animals are affected by environmental pollutants. High levels of radon in the home can be especially dangerous for pets because they tend to spend more time inside than their owners. Radon can cause tumors in the lungs and respiratory tracts of animals.
An article by Cancer Survivors Against Radon (CanSAR) describes a pet owner, Susan McCormick, who was diagnosed with lung cancer. When her dog also received a cancer diagnosis, she ended up testing her home, and found a level 5x higher than the EPA recommended action level.
One of RadonAway’s founders, Howie Zidel, had a memorable radon mitigation he performed due to a pet. “One of the first houses I ever mitigated was because a woman’s pet bunny who lived in the basement died of lung cancer. True story. She was a dental technician and had her house tested for Radon.” It is unfortunate that the death of a well-loved pet had to be the indicator of high radon levels in her home.
By taking proactive measures and testing your home, radon problems can be found and addressed before you or any member of your family, including pets, fall victim to radon-induced lung cancer.
Radon testing kits are available to purchase at: https://www.radon.com/ordernow/