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Prev Chronic Dis. 2013 Aug 8;10:E132. doi: 10.5888/pcd10.120337.

Radon control activities for lung cancer prevention in national comprehensive cancer control program plans, 2005-2011.

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  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Comprehensive Cancer Control Branch, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Public Health Promotion, 4770 Buford Hwy, MS K-57, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.



Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer among smokers and the leading cause among nonsmokers. The US Environmental Protection Agency recommends that every home be tested for radon. Comprehensive Cancer Control (CCC) programs develop cancer coalitions that coordinate funding and resources to focus on cancer activities that are recorded in cancer plans. Radon tests, remediation, and radon mitigation techniques are relatively inexpensive, but it is unclear whether coalitions recognize radon as an important carcinogen.


We reviewed 65 cancer plans created from 2005 through 2011 for the terms "radon," "radiation," or "lung." Plan activities were categorized as radon awareness, home testing, remediation, supporting radon policy activities, or policy evaluation. We also reviewed each CCC program's most recent progress report. Cancer plan content was reviewed to assess alignment with existing radon-specific policies in each state.


Twenty-seven of the plans reviewed (42%) had radon-specific terminology. Improving awareness of radon was included in all 27 plans; also included were home testing (n=21), remediation (n=11), support radon policy activities (n=13), and policy evaluation (n=1). Three plans noted current engagement in radon activities. Thirty states had radon-specific laws; most (n=21) were related to radon professional licensure. Eleven states had cancer plan activities that aligned with existing state radon laws.


Although several states have radon-specific policies, approximately half of cancer coalitions may not be aware of radon as a public health issue. CCC-developed cancer coalitions and plans should prioritize tobacco control to address lung cancer but should consider addressing radon through partnership with existing radon control programs.

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