Radon: The Invisible, Odorless, Colorless Danger
Every year, tens of thousands of Americans face serious health risks due to exposure to radon. Radon is an odorless, colorless, naturally-occurring radioactive gas. It causes more than 20,000 deaths annually. Since radon is radiation, long-term inhalation exposure to radon in indoor air is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking. Even non-smokers are at risk of developing lung cancer from radon exposure.
The EPA Spreads Radon Awareness Every Year During National Radon Action Month
The government is raising awareness about the dangers of radon gas. As a result, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated the month of January National Radon Action Month since 1999. During this month, numerous groups, organizations, and individuals provide information and activities with the goal of spreading radon awareness and saving lives.
Caused by the decay of uranium, thorium, and radium present in nearly all soils, radon’s presence can go undetected almost anywhere, even at dangerously elevated levels. Once the gas leaves the soil and enters buildings, it doesn’t dissipate into the atmosphere like other gases. Instead, it collects, especially in well-sealed and insulated areas with poor ventilation. In some areas, radon can also leak into the groundwater and later be released into the air when the water is used.
Protect Your Home from Radon Exposure
These dangers prompted the EPA and Surgeon General to recommend everyone test their homes tested for radon. Testing kits are affordable and easy to use, with some cities and state health and environmental agencies even providing them free of charge. You can also purchase short-term and long-term test kits or radon in the water kits here.
In addition to having your home tested for radon, the EPA also recommends other steps to promote awareness and keep your family and others safe. These include:
- Spread the word and let others know about the hazards of radon and how to test their homes for it.
- Attend a National Radon Action Month event in your area and invite a friend or neighbor.
- Host an activity of your own in your community to help spread awareness of radon.
- Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper or an op-ed about the danger of radon gas in the home, and include information from the event planning resources
Take steps to ensure you’re purchasing a radon-resistant home. You can find builders informed on radon-resistant new construction or reading this building guide.
I’ve Test My Home. What Next?
If you do happen to find high levels of radon when you use your radon home testing kit (greater than 4 picocuries per liter of air pCi/l), be sure to follow up with a certified radon mitigator to help you resolve the issue. You don’t want to attempt to fix this dangerous issue alone. At Atlantic Real Estate Services, we provide the most effective and aesthetically pleasing radon mitigation solutions in Maryland. Reach today to schedule a free in-home consultation.