January is National Radon Month: As temperatures drop, radon risks riseYou can’t see it, smell it, or taste it, but a deadly radioactive gas could be lurking in your home.
By: Budgeteer News staff, Duluth Budgeteer News
You can’t see it, smell it, or taste it, but a deadly radioactive gas could be lurking in your home.
Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that’s found in about one of every 15 U.S. homes, and levels tend to rise during the winter.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is urging residents to test their homes in January, which happens to be National Radon Action Month.
Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. It causes no immediate symptoms but is the number one cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers and kills more than 21,000 each year in the U.S., according to the EPA.
“Radon is a dangerous health threat to our families and communities that can be easily avoided through simple testing,” said Karl Brooks, EPA Region 7 administrator. “This month, I urge everyone to test their homes.”
The EPA and U.S. Surgeon General recommend that all homes, with or without basements, be tested. Do-it-yourself kits are available at home improvement and hardware stores, or a qualified radon tester can be hired.
The EPA recommends taking action to fix radon levels above four picocuries per liter. Addressing high radon levels often costs the same as other minor home repairs.
Radon can enter a home through cracks in the foundation or other openings, such as holes or pipes. Although radon can enter a home through the water supply, entry through the soil is a much larger risk. Radon in a home’s water system is more likely when the home has a ground water source — such as a private well or public water supply system that uses ground water.
In addition to testing for radon, there now are safer and healthier radon-resistant construction techniques that home buyers can discuss with builders to prevent this health hazard.
For more information on testing, repairs, obtaining a test kit, or contacting your state radon office, go to www.epa.gov/radon or call 1-800-767-7236.
- Forum Communications