January is National Radon Action Month. Exposure to radon causes lung cancer and could seriously affect those with existing lung conditions. Learn more about Radon and how you can protect your family:
What is Radon?:
Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas that you cannot smell or taste, but may be present in your home or office environment. The Surgeon General says that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, after smoking, and is responsible for as many as 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
Fortunately, exposure to radon is a preventable health risk – The Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of the Surgeon General encourage all Americans to test the radon levels in their homes and offices. The recommended action level for radon is 4pCi/l. Those areas that test above this level are considered dangerous.
Testing for Radon:
Testing for radon is the only way to know what the level of radon in your home or office environment is – Because radon exposure typically occurs over many years, there are no immediate symptoms to alert you to its presence. You can test for radon yourself with a Radon Test Kit like this one, available from Breathe Pennsylvania.
The EPA recommends testing your home or office for radon twice to ensure that the level is elevated. This is because radon levels fluctuate naturally and could be affected by elements like unusual weather.
Protecting Yourself and Your Family:
If your test results show a level of 4pCi/l or higher, there are steps you can take to help reduce radon levels. One option is to hire a qualified radon mitigation contractor who can help you make the repairs or updates to your home necessary to lower the levels of radon in your home. You can obtain a list of radon mitigation contractors by contacting Pennsylvania’s Radon Office.
You may also choose to tackle radon levels yourself. If you choose the DIY route, the EPA recommends purchasing Doug Kladder’s radon reduction manual. Kladder is one of the country’s most experienced radon mitigation contractors. He teaches introductory radon mitigation courses and has created a slide show for the EPA about radon that features a section of radon mitigation.
Though you cannot see, smell or taste radon, you and your family could still be exposed to it. During National Radon Action Month, test your home and work environments for dangerous levels and learn more about protecting yourself and your family from this radioactive gas. If you have questions about radon or would like to purchase a radon test kit, visit our web store or call 1-800-220-1990 for more information.