June is National Safety Month. With that in mind, this would be a good time to discuss radon gas. Radon is produced by the breakdown of uranium in rock and water. This gas is radioactive, and we breathe it in every day. It leaks into homes through the ground from cracks. At low levels there is limited danger, but elevated levels can cause health issues. It’s estimated that at least 15,000 lung cancer deaths per year can be traced back to radon. In fact, it’s the #1 cause of lung cancer outside of smoking. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 1 in 15 homes have elevated radon levels.
To determine if radon levels in your home are too high, use a radon test kit. There are short-term and long-term kits available. The EPA has a web page dedicated to ordering radon test kits. Many hardware stores carry do-it-yourself kits. You can also contact measurement and mitigation professionals. Testing is important as it is the only way to detect radon gas levels.
4 picocuries per liter (pCI/L) or higher is considered dangerous. At that level, it’s recommended to take steps to lower the amount of radon gas in the home. Sealing cracks in floors and walls can help, along with increasing ventilation.
Nearly 1 in 15 homes is America is estimated to have elevated levels of radon. Don’t let your home be that one.
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