Each November, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes Lung Cancer Awareness Month (LCAM). EPA’s Indoor Environments Division seeks to promote healthy living by reducing the risk of lung cancer nationwide.
Lung cancer will account for about 13 percent of all new cancers in the United States in 2019 and is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women.1
You can reduce your risk of developing lung cancer by limiting your exposure to known indoor contaminates, such as radon, secondhand tobacco smoke and residential wood smoke.
After smoking, radon is identified as the leading cause of lung cancer in United States. Radon is estimated to cause thousands of lung cancer deaths in the United States each year. EPA recommends you test your home for radon, learn how to interpret your test results, and take action to fix your home, if needed. Some radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99 percent.
Secondhand Tobacco Smoke
Secondhand smoke—classified by EPA as a Group A carcinogen—contains more than 7,000 substances. Breathing in secondhand tobacco smoke can increase your chances of getting lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.
There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Eliminating secondhand smoke in the indoor environment will reduce its harmful health effects and improve the indoor air quality and the comfort or health of occupants.
Residential Wood Smoke
Smoke forms when wood or other organic matter burns. The smoke from wood burning is made up of a complex mixture of fine particles and gases, which can include such air pollutants as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that have been associated with the development of lung cancer. Wood smoke can affect everyone, but children, teenagers, older adults, people with lung disease (including asthma and COPD) and people with heart diseases are the most vulnerable. It is important to limit your exposure to smoke. Properly installed and correctly used wood-burning appliances should be smoke-free. EPA has information to help you reduce your exposure to wood smoke.
EPA Indoor Environments Division sent this bulletin at 11/01/2019 10:00 AM EDT
American Cancer Society. 2019. Cancer Facts & Figures 2019. American Cancer Society. Atlanta, GA. www.cancer.org/research/cancer-facts-statistics/all-cancer-facts-figures/cancer-facts-figures-2019.html