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Public Awareness and Perceptions Surrounding Radon Testing in a State With High Radon Emission Potential and Low Smoking Rates. (cover story)

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer mortality among nonsmokers. Lung cancer leads cancer deaths in Utah, a state with <10% smokers and high radon emission potential. Understanding public awareness can help improve voluntary radon testing. The objective of this study was to identify patterns in radon awareness and testing in Utah. Utah's 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System included questions about radon awareness and testing. We examined differences by demographics and county (moderate versus high estimated radon, rural versus urban) using Rao--Scott chi-squared tests and logistic regression. In total, 75% of Utah residents never tested their home for radon and 80% could not identify radon as a risk factor for lung cancer. Of nontesters, 40% were unaware of radon itself or testing. Testing was slightly more common in moderate radon counties (17%) than in the high radon counties (14%). Women, Hispanics, renters, persons with annual incomes <$50,000, and persons without college degrees generally did not test for radon. People 55 years or older and living in rural counties were the least likely to identify radon as a risk factor for lung cancer. Radon testing and meaningful awareness of radon's link to lung cancer are low in Utah. Support is needed to improve radon education, awareness, and testing throughout the state. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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