What exactly is radon and how I can take action to mitigate it?
Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that is released from rocks and soil. It is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that seeps up through the ground and into the air in homes. Radon can enter homes through cracks in floors, walls, or foundations. Scientists agree that radon causes lung cancer in humans. After smoking, it is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Roughly 1 in 15 homes – about 8 million - have levels of radon that exceed EPA’s action level. Unfortunately, the radon problem could be worsening as homes get more energy efficient, but are built without the right technology to remove this gas.
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Testing is the only way to know if a home has elevated radon levels. NCHH recommends that everyone conduct a home radon test. It is simple and inexpensive. Do-it-yourself tests can be purchased from a local hardware store ($15-$20). Short-term detectors measure radon levels for about three days. At the end of the three days simply send the detector to the lab and results will be mailed or in some cases, e-mailed. Long-term tests can also be performed. They determine the average concentration for more than 90 days. Radon mitigation (removing radon from a home that tests high) is similar to putting a straw through the house. It goes through the basement floor on one end and out the roof or the side of the home on the other end. The idea is to pull the gas from around the home up through the straw and out of the house where it can’t harm you.
For more information concerning radon click here. The EPA website also contains news, information, and publications on radon.