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Experts offer free air quality test for homes

THE Shanghai Environmental Protection Association announced yesterday that it will offer free indoor air quality test for newly decorated homes to check formaldehyde, benzene, volatile organic compound and radon -- a major indoor radioactive substance leading to lung cancer. Local families can make an application to the association by dialing 51157376 or visiting www.shaepi.org.cn before August 31. Test results will be used in a research on indoor air quality. While the public is increasingly awareness of the danger of formaldehyde, benzene and other volatile pollutants, the risk from radon is not well known, radiation experts said. Unlike volatile pollutants with bad smell, radon which comes mainly from soil, brick, cement, granite and ceramic tiles is odorless and invisible. Its danger is ignored by people, the experts said. A previous radon check in some public buildings found radon was higher than the country's average level. "Indoor air pollution can cause leukemia, heart disease, skin disease and cancer," said Feng Weiheng, a radiation expert from the Shanghai Environmental Protection Association. "Compared with other pollutants, people have less knowledge about radon." He said indoor radon is the culprit for about 20,000 lung cancer deaths in Europe each year. In the United States, radon kills about 21,000 people each year, surpassing AIDS.

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