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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Kentucky: Trial Results Point the Way to Reducing Radon Exposure in Homes

Residential radon gas is a significant but modifiable risk factor for lung cancer death worldwide. In the U.S. alone, one in 15 residences could be classified as having high radon levels. Because radon is colorless and odorless, many people fail to recognize its presence and the associated dangers. In fact, despite the fact that 82 percent of people have heard of radon, only about 15 percent of families test for it in their homes. Furthermore, coupling radon with tobacco smoke compounds the risk of lung cancer for exposed individuals.

A new publication from the University of Kentucky provides the results of a randomized controlled trial testing the efficacy of providing free in-person home radon and air nicotine test kits, coupled with report back and a telephone problem-solving session as a means of reducing lung cancer risk. Dr. Ellen J. Hahn, professor in the University of Kentucky Colleges of Nursing and Public Health, is the first author of “FRESH: Long-Term Outcomes of a Randomized Trial to Reduce Radon and Tobacco Smoke in the Home”, published in Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy.

The 2-step FRESH (Freedom from Radon Exposure and Smoking in the Home) intervention provided free radon and air nicotine test kits to the treatment group for home testing along with verbal, written, and YouTube video instructions for using the kits. Investigators consulted with participants by telephone to report back the test results, and to help them solve problems related to high radon or air nicotine levels. They found that the free tests kits, along with telephone support and report back of results, improved participants’ readiness to take action to remediate exposure to radon and secondhand smoke in the home.

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