HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- In honor of Cancer Awareness Month, we are shining a light on one of the unknown, leading causes of lung cancer. Radon is the second biggest cause of lung cancer behind smoking, according to the Dusty Joy Foundation.
But how do you know you are living in a contaminated home?
Dusty Donaldson, the Executive Director of the Dusty Joy Foundation, said here in the Valley, Radon is a hotspot.
"I have met many people who have never smoked but were diagnosed with lung cancer. They later realized they had high levels of radon in their homes," said Donaldson.
Radon is naturally occurring in the soil and seeps in through the cracks in your home, where it gets trapped.
Kimberly Lester explained, "As it decomposes, it comes up through the soil and gets into our homes. When it gets into our homes, we breath it into our lunges."
Lester is the Social Marketing Director for the Dusty Joy Foundation.
"Radon will kill more people this year than aids, drunk driving, drowning or forest fires," said Lester.
According to the Dusty Joy Foundation, one in fifteen homes in America have radon. In Rockingham County, one in three homes have radon.
"It's not a man-made problem, it is just due to the natural geography of the Valley," said Lester.
According to Dusty Donaldson, it is easy to test for radon, using a kit you can get at any local hardware store.
"It is like having a volcano right here in your backyard. It is so easy to test and so inexpensive to fix the problem if you have it. So, there is really no reason to not test and mitigate," said Donaldson.
"When you consider that every day the number of people who die from lung cancer is equivalent to a jumbo jet crashing into the ground, then it is no wonder I feel like I have walked away from a plane crash," said Donaldson.
The national event, "Shine a Light on Lung Cancer" is being held right here in the Valley. Their goal is to bring awareness about lung cancer and honor the survivors.
It takes place at the Woods Chapel Independent Bible Church, in New Market at 7 p.m.