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Family Pets & Radon Exposure

Thursday, July 26th, 2018 by Jen Herbrandson


 

pets on couch

Radon gas exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in humans, but what about our pets?

Citizens for Radioactive Radon Reduction, Nebraska Representative,  Kimberly Buchmeier, shares a powerful story about her own lung cancer diagnosis and how, through self-education, she learned that high levels of radon in her home were the cause.  She also shares that in 2011 - her dog was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Check out her full story here.  

According to the 1999 BEIR IV (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) report by the National Academy of Sciences, 21% of dogs exposed to radon developed lung tumors. (The report also states radon can cause tumors anywhere within the respiratory tract.)

Radon exposure can be more toxic for dogs and cats because they are in the home much longer throughout the day and night compared to their human companions. Also - pets are often kenneled or have their litter boxes in the lower levels of the home.

What is Radon?

Radon is a hazardous, naturally occurring gas that results from the decay of trace amounts of uranium found in the earth's crust. Odorless and invisible, radon has been classified (by the Environmental Protection Agency) as a carcinogen since 1988. Learn more on our site.

Symptoms

Pets may not show signs of suffering from cancer until it is severe or in the final stages. According to PetMD.com, there are multiple symtoms that could point to lung cancer: coughing or difficulty breathing, weight loss, fever, loss of appetite and inability to excersise. Cancer can metastasize through the lungs and present additional symptoms.

Prevention

Be proactive.  The best prevention for your family and your four legged, fur babies is to test for radon and install a radon mitigation system if you levels are higher than the recommended action level of 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).

We Are Here To Help

If you have not tested your home, please do so. You can pick up a radon test kit for under $10 at any hardware store.  Pro-tip: Start your test on Friday morning (Put a note on your coffee pot!) and end the test on Sunday.  That way you can mail the test kit back on Monday morning and ensure it won't get stuck sitting at the post office over the weekend.  

 

85 million families in the United States have pets - we want all families and their pets to be healthy and happy.  Test and mitigate today.

 

About the author
MN girl who loves to travel.

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