Staying indoors for a long time can cause lung cancer – Prof

People fond of staying indoors for very long time are at high risk of developing cancer of the lungs due to earth radiation emissions, the Director-General of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Professor Geoffrey Emi-Reynolds has revealed.

According to him, the earth periodically emits impalpable and invisible atomic substances known as radon that could fill up unventilated rooms over time thereby producing cancer in the lungs of persons who stay very long in such rooms.

“If one breathes in too much of radon as a result of keeping himself or herself indoors, the person is likely to get cancer of the lungs and it could gradually spread to other parts of the body,” he stressed.

Prof. Emi-Reynolds made this disclosure in an interaction with the press at a media workshop on Nuclear Security in Accra yesterday and advised the public to stay in ventilated rooms to avoid such incident.

Making reference to available research, he explained that radon comes up from the ground and gets trapped in houses and buildings and for the average person, radon accounts for over half their annual exposure to radiation.

He said research have also shown that once radiation from the sun gets into the earth’s atmosphere, clouds and the surface absorb the solar energy thereby heating up and re-emit energy as longwave radiation in the form of infrared rays.

According to him, excessive exposure to radon which is a colourless, odourless gas that comes from decaying rocks and soil could result in one developing lung cancer.

He said it was therefore imperative for people to shut their air-conditioning machines periodically and open their windows to allow fresh air to ventilate their rooms and offices.

“Though the risk of developing cancer from a lifetime exposure of background radiation is low, it is however crucial for one to avoid such situation and the best ways to limit unnecessary exposure to radiation from the environment is to prevent exposure to radon.

For us in this part of the continent, we should be exposed to fresh air so that when these radioactive activities are taking place they will not be harmful to the body,” he said.

On nuclear energy, Prof. Emi-Reynolds said the country was prepared to start producing nuclear energy to augment the current electricity supply.

He said plans were far advanced for a nuclear plant to be installed on one of three suggested locations to produce energy that will be added to the national grid.

The Head of Legal Department, Mr Abdel Awudu Razak, called on the media to expose the public to nuclear technology by regularly reporting on the matter.

He said the public needed to be informed and educated about the benefits and harmful effects of radiation and diffuse the notion that radiation was entirely negative to society.



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