A Blast from the Past: Dangers of Radon and the Need for Radon Detection Highlighted in 1980s Newsletter

Here’s one from the archives, going back to the days before the Internet when folks were just beginning to discover the dangers of household radon and the need for radon detection. It’s an Ohio Genealogy Newsletter from 1986 that discusses the dangers of radon. “It was not until recently … that both geologists and public health officials were aware that radon was widespread in the natural environment, accumulating in buildings in potentially harmful concentrations…,” the newsletter notes.

Like Smoking Hundreds of Packs of Cigarettes Every Day…

The article points out that it was only in 1984, two years prior to its publication, that the danger of radon in private homes became evident after an engineer working in a nuclear power plant triggered radiation alarms. Most assumed it came from his work environment, but further examination revealed his home to be the real source. Health officials compared the radon contamination in his home to the harmful equivalent of smoking 135 packs of cigarettes a day.

The article further notes that areas like Ohio and Dayton may not exhibit the potential for radon as some other states, but “the extent of the problem is just as speculative as the rest of the country.”

So yeah, your living room could be giving you the radioactive contamination of smoking hundreds of packs of cigarettes a day and you might not even know it. Have you had your home tested for radon lately? It just might be a good idea.