Latest News

Latest News




January is Radon Action Month

Posted 1/24/24 (Wed)

NDMA Encourages Radon Testing to Help Mitigate Lung Cancer Risk

NDMA President Dr. Stephanie Dahl


BISMARCK – Each January, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes National Radon Action Month to help educate the public on the importance of radon testing as a vital step to prevent the harmful impact of exposure.

To double down on the message, the North Dakota Medical Association (NDMA) is appealing to North Dakotans to learn more about radon to protect themselves and their families.

According to the EPA, radon is an odorless, invisible, radioactive gas naturally released from rocks, soil, and water and can enter homes through small cracks or holes and build up in the air. Over time, breathing in high levels of radon can cause serious health issues, particularly lung cancer.

Through personal experience, NDMA President Dr. Stephanie Dahl is deeply committed to help drive the message home when it comes to protecting you and your family against a potentially harmful and invisible gas.

As a physician and health advocate, Dr. Dahl makes it a priority to keep her health in check, which includes seeking medical care when something isn’t quite right. About a year ago – through a routine x-ray – a 13-millimeter lung nodule made an appearance.

Her physician did not take the results lightly and expressed concerns about lung cancer. He asked if her home had been tested for radon. “We had our home tested for radon in 2016, and our levels were high,” said Dahl. “So, we installed a mitigation system.”

A further consultation with a thoracic surgeon said that Dahl’s risk of lung cancer hovered at 85 percent when considering the size of the lung nodule.

“I was speechless. I never smoked in my life, so lung cancer wasn’t something I worried about,” said Dahl. “I never even thought about the risks of radon.”

Now Dahl’s mind began to race when she considered radon exposure, since she spent numerous hours downstairs on a treadmill training for a marathon. Even more importantly, she wondered about her family’s health.

Thankfully, the pathology results showed the nodules were not cancerous, but the scare served as a wake-up call. A follow up home radon test showed that their home was within the safe level, but the lake home where they spend many summer weekends was elevated, even though a passive mitigation system had been installed when the house was built.

“We did not waste any time installing an active radon mitigation system,” said Dahl. “Then I began asking friends and neighbors if they had their homes tested for radon and was shocked by the number of people who had never heard of radon.”

The EPA reports that radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. For smokers, elevated radon exposure levels increase their already heightened lung cancer risk. When it comes to children, radon exposure can be more serious since smaller lungs and faster respiration rates result in higher doses.

Research continues to build linking radon exposure to more health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, complications during pregnancy, and male infertility. For Dr. Dahl, who specializes in reproductive endocrinology and infertility these health impacts are concerning and more reasons why it’s important to get the word out.

Dahl suggests that if you haven’t tested your home for radon, now is the perfect time to take this step to protect yourself and your loved ones.

If your home tests for radon levels above 4 picocuries, the EPA recommends taking action to fix your home. Fortunately, affordable do-it-yourself home radon test kits are available online or can be purchased at home improvement and hardware stores. In addition, the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality provides radon resources, such as how to test for radon, what radon results mean and how to address elevated radon levels.

The EPA reports that radon remains a prominent health hazard in the United States and lists North Dakota as Zone 1, meaning it has the highest potential for elevated radon levels. Despite its severity, many people remain unaware of radon and its potential health implications.

If you wish to have NDMA President Dr. Dahl share her story at an event in your community, contact NDMA at 701-223-9475 or email


Sorry no Tweets at this time

Follow Us!