January is National Radon Action Month
Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and the leading cause of lung cancer among never-smokers. The EPA estimates that radon gas causes over 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year – a number we can decrease by taking action.
Radon gas is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless radioactive gas produced from the normal decay of uranium, a naturally occurring substance present in rock, soil and water across the US. Radon gas produced by surrounding soil can seep into homes, schools, or other buildings through cracks or other openings (ie. pipes and plumbing). When radon gas is trapped inside buildings, it can rise to dangerous levels.
Elevated radon levels have been found in every state across the country. A 1991 study found that while the average outdoor levels of radon are 0.4 pCi/L (measured in radioactivity per liter of air), average indoor radon levels were found to be 1.3, but many homes can have higher levels of radon. Radon gas levels of 4.0 or higher are considered a serious health risk; any home or building with levels of 4.0 or higher should be fixed to reduce buildup of radon gas. High risk areas include basements, ground floor rooms and garages.
Take Action to Protect Your Family:
- Test your home. Testing is very easy and inexpensive. You can buy a kit from your local hardware or home improvement store for $25 or less. For more information about testing, visit www.sosradon.org.
- Fix your home to reduce radon gas exposure. The cost of repairs to address elevated radon levels varies, but many times is comparable to other regular home repairs.
- Spread awareness in your community
- Buy a radon-resistant home. Many builders use radon-resistant new construction to prevent radon gas from accumulating to dangerous levels.