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We are pleased to bring you our fifth edition of Fast Facts. This is a brief report on
local data that we believe you will find useful in both understanding and improving the
health of our community. Our goal is to keep it brief and instructive and to provide
opportunities for all persons to positively impact the issue.  


January is National Radon Action month so our topic this time is the dangerous effects of radon. Please feel free to forward to colleagues, board members and others in the community.

Radon is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water. Radon is a form of ionizing radiation and a proven carcinogen. Lung cancer is the only known effect on human health from exposure to radon in air. Thus far, there is no evidence that children are at greater risk of lung cancer than are adults.


Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States after smoking. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Surgeon General's office estimate radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year.


For smokers the risk of lung cancer is significant due to the synergistic effects of radon and smoking. For this population about 62 people in a 1,000 will die of lung-cancer, compared to 7.3 people in a 1,000 for non-smokers. Radon exposure does not cause much in the way of symptoms, so exposure can be ongoing and may take years before health problems appear and may actually go undiagnosed for many.


Radon in air is ubiquitous and it gets into the indoor air primarily from soil under homes and other buildings. The action level for a home is set at 4 pCi/L or more, but no level is really safe. Allen County is in what is considered "Zone 1" by the EPA which means we have the highest potential for elevated levels of radon in homes. Having your home tested is the only effective way to determine whether you or your family is at risk of radon exposure.

There are several proven methods to reduce radon in your home, but the one primarily used is a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. This system, known as a soil suction radon reduction system, does not require major changes to your home. Sealing foundation cracks and other openings makes this kind of system more effective and cost-efficient. Similar systems can also be installed in houses with crawl spaces. Radon contractors can use other methods that may also work in your home. The right system depends on the design of your home and other factors.




In Allen County, there were more than 180 deaths from lung cancer in 2012.

What You Can Do


 As a health care provider:

  • Encourage patients to have their home tested - especially if the patient smokes.

    See below for information on free radon test kits.

As a homeowner: 

  • Ensure that your home has been tested. For more information on radon and/or radon testing visit

  • Get a free test kit available at the following locations:

  • Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health
    Citizens Square; 200 E. Berry St.; Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health
    Vector Control Office; 2242 Carroll Rd.; Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Grabill Town Hall
    13717 1st St.; Mon. - Thurs. 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Leo-Cedarville Town Hall
    13909 Pony Express Run; Mon.- Fri. 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Monroeville Utility Department
    call (260) 740-8041 or 740-8042 for information.
  • New Haven City Hall, Utility Payment Office
    815 Lincoln Hwy. E., Mon.- Fri., 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Woodburn City Hall
    22735 Main St.; Mon.- Fri., 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

As a funder or public official: 



Fast Facts is a collaboration of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health and
United Way of Allen County 2-1-1
  Contact Deborah McMahan, MD or John Silcox
 c/o Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health