BEND, OR -- Central Oregon may not be at high risk for deadly Radon gas, according to a new report, but experts say that doesn't mean there's no risk. The state report released Tuesday shows the highest concern in the Portland area. Brett Sherry, Oregon's Radon Coordinator, says the gas- which is odorless, tasteless and invisible- can be deadly. "Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, so it's a significant health risk. We've known about it since the late 1800s, early 1900s. What we didn't know about it is the problem it is in homes - we didn't learn that until the late 70s and early 80s," Sherry tells KBND News.
"So, what we do is collect data from test kits compiled from around the state and we make a list. So, you can go to our website and we have a list of cities by zipcode that shows how many test results and what the risk level is," says Sherry. There are several high risk pockets around the Willamette Valley and in eastern and southern Oregon. "There are certain areas at high risk where homes don't have high levels of Radon. And, it doesn't mean if your area is 'low risk,' your home is free of it. The only way is to test to make sure you'll know." Sherry encourages homeowners to purchase low-cost Radon test-kits to see if high levels of the gas exist.