Researchers at the University of Iowa are looking for cigarette smokers to take part in a study of radon, an invisible gas that’s prevalent in most Iowa homes. Dr. Bill Field, a professor of occupational and environmental health at the U-of-I, says radon exposure can cause lung cancer and Iowa smokers are in even greater danger.
Field says "If you smoke and also have higher radon exposures, you have a much higher risk of developing lung cancer." He says more than 70-percent of the basements in Iowa homes have radon levels that exceed federal E-P-A standards. Field says Iowa smokers are giving themselves a double-dose of radiation.
Field says many people don’t realize that cigarette smoke contains radioactive materials and that pack-a-day smokers may be exposed to more radiation than workers in federal nuclear weapons factories. The radon studies have been underway at the U-of-I since 1993. He says the latest project involves developing a new radon detector that could give an estimate of someone’s exposure during the time they’ve lived in any given home. Field says Iowa’s history with radon runs deep.
He says long-ago glaciers left pulverized rock deposits all over Iowa which have high radon-emanating potential and Iowa has the highest average radon concentration in the U.S. For more information, Field suggests searching for "Iowa" and "radon" together to be linked to the study or call 800-SOS-Radon.