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Radon puts many Pennsylvania workers at risk for lung cancer

Data compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Surgeon General’s Office shows that 20,000 or more individuals die from lung cancer annually from exposure to radon. This odorless, tasteless gas is only second to smoking as far as lung cancer deaths are concerned. It’s not just found in homes, but in Pennsylvania workplaces as well.

Radon isn’t commercially produced but instead is released into the environment when uranium naturally breaks down. It can be found in soil and among igneous rocks. It’s also common to find traces of it in well water.

Most individuals who test as having high levels of radon in their bodies are exposed to it by handling building materials, soil or groundwater. In addition to ingestion, it can also be inhaled if it’s in the air.

Workers who have worked in confined spaces such as in underground buildings or mines are most vulnerable to radon exposure. Ordinary soils and rocks tend to exhale radon at significant rates once exposed to water that’s been mixed with this gas. This is why caves, tunnels, spas, power stations and public baths are known to have significantly higher levels of this radioactive gas than other workplaces.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data shows that workers who face the highest radon exposure risk are those who work in mineral processing or as underground uranium miners. The levels of radon that they’re exposed to in their confined workspaces are high because their air supply is often limited. Those who work in above-ground workplaces where there is circulation of outdoor air are exposed to far less radon.

Workers in Dauphin who are exposed to radon often don’t show symptoms of their disease until several years have passed after their initial exposure. By the time an individual is symptomatic, it’s often too late for any life-saving measures to be successful in helping reverse their disease.

If cancer is affecting your ability to work, then a workplace illness attorney can provide you with reliable representation as you apply for Social Security Disability benefits.


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