Climate Impact on Lung Cancer Risk Via Exposure to Radon

What is the CLOVER study?

Climate Impact on Lung Cancer Via Exposure to Radon (CLOVER) is a radon study being conducted at Duke Cancer Institute. The goal of the study is to investigate the impact of climate change on radon and prevent future radon exposure in North Carolina households.

climate change
What is climate change?

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. 

The shift in temperatures and weather patterns may be a natural occurrence but the greenhouse effect has been thought to be the main driver of climate change. The greenhouse effect is the process that occurs when gases in Earth’s atmosphere trap the Sun’s heat. This makes the Earth warmer. The trapping of the Sun’s heat increases when more fossil fuels such as coal, gas, and oil are burned because the burning of fossil fuels create gases that trap the Sun’s heat. 

Learn more on the United Nation’s website HERE!

Some effects of climate change can be seen in rising sea levels, melting of polar ice caps, warming oceans, hotter temperatures, increase droughts, increase in severe storms or weather, loss of crops due to weather, wildfires, ocean acidification, loss of species, and deforestation.

Learn more on the United Nation’s website HERE!

Climate change can affect your health by contributing multiple physical and mental health conditions. The chart below demonstrates the effect of climate change factors and its impact on health.

Diagram showing specific examples of how climate change can affect human health, now and in the future. These effects could occur at local, regional, or national scales. Examples include extreme heat, outdoor air quality, flooding, & vector-borne disease.

Source: The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment (USGCRP)

Some ways to help climate change is making small changes in your lifestyle. Instead of driving or taking a taxi, you can walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation. Even carpooling with friends and family can help limit the burning of fossil fuels. When you are not at home, unplug devices and turn off the lights. You can recycle items such as plastic, or metals instead of throwing them into the trash. Or compost old food scraps to turn into compost instead of sending them to the landfill. Opt for energy saving devices. Lastly, talk about climate change and bring awareness to this global issue. 

Learn more on the United Nation’s website HERE!

What is radon?

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and naturally-occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. 

Radon is found in rocks and soil. When radon escapes from the soil or is burned in fossil fuels (coal, oil, etc.) it spreads into the air around us and our homes. Radon can also be found in water. 

Read more about radon HERE!

Radon is the primary cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. When you breathe in radon, the radioactive particles get stuck in your lungs. Over time and more exposure to radon, the particles will your damage lung tissue which will higher your chances of lung cancer. 

Radon can also cause radon poisoning when exposed to high levels of it in water and air. 

Learn more on the CDC’s website HERE!

To test for radon in your home, you can order a radon test kit which will tell you the concentration of radon in picoCuries per liter of air (pCi/L). High levels of radon include results from 4 pCi/L or more. 

Learn more about radon testing on NC Department of Health and Human Services HERE!