Minnesota resident battles lung cancer after being exposed to radon in his home

Radon, a dangerous gas common in the Midwest due to its regional geology – but present anywhere in the United States – is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data. And, reports the StarTribune, a Minneapolis news source, radon levels in Minnesota are particularly dangerous, with more than 40 percent of the state’s home radon tests conducted in the past 13 years showing hazardous levels of the gas. 

The Minnesota Department of Health recently launched an effort to help people avoid exposure to radon, but unfortunately for some residents, the initiative came too late. 

Wes Bry, a 60-year-old Lakeville man who has never smoked a cigarette in his life, was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer days before his 30th anniversary with his wife, Mary Anne. Bry told the StarTribune that after learning from the internet that radon exposure could have caused the disease, he tested his basement and discovered that the amount of the gas present in his home was roughly three times higher than what federal officials deem safe.

“Wouldn’t it have been nice to be more aware of this, even a decade ago?” Bry said. “What 10 years could have done. That’s the past and now we’ll look at the future. We might be able to alter other people’s futures.”

Andrew Gilbert, outreach coordinator for the Health Department’s radon program, stressed the importance of testing for radon before purchasing a home, saying that it’s just one more thing people can do to protect themselves.

Moving into a new house that hasn’t received a proper home inspection is a dangerous idea, as it can lead to lots of repair costs, and can even seriously compromise your health. If you’re thinking of buying a new house, or if you want to conduct radon testing at your current property, a home inspection contractor can help you determine if you’re safe, and what to do if you aren’t.