Detecting an Invisible Killer

Every week, Peter Piller deals with a potential killer — one neither he nor anyone else has ever seen.

Piller, owner of American Home Radon Services in New Milford, faces radon, a known carcinogen that is a colorless, odorless and tasteless radioactive gas. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, its source is “the natural breakdown of uranium that is found in nearly all soils.”

What makes radon especially dangerous is its link to lung cancer, the only cancer with which it has been conclusively connected. The U.S. Surgeon General’s office has said that next to smoking, “radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today.”

It causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year, according to an EPA study. That’s more than drunk driving, falls in the home, drowning or home fires.

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