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Health

More than a third of Maine homes have high levels of radon, says the American Lung Association

More than a third of Maine homes have high levels of radon, according to the American Lung Association.

The numbers in Maine are much higher than the national average.

Kevin Stewart, the American Lung Association's director of environmental health, said that radon is emitted from the earth and gets into homes through cracks and foundations. The radioactive gas is clear and odorless — but it's the number two cause of lung cancer in the United States.

"The problem is that symptoms of lung cancer are very insidious," Stewart said. "Very often, they don't appear until the cancer is very well advanced. And sometimes it's very difficult to treat, or even impossible to treat."

Stewart encourages Maine residents to get their homes tested for radon and install a mitigation system, if needed, which can cost up to about $1,500.