January is National Radon Action Month and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages all Americans to test the air in their homes for the presence of radioactive radon gas.
Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the decay of uranium in the ground. Nearly all soils contain some naturally occurring uranium. Radon seeps up from the soil into buildings where it can accumulate to high levels. Since radon is invisible and odorless, dangerous levels can exist indoors without occupants knowing. Testing is the only way to know the radon level in your home or school. Exposure to radon causes an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually. After smoking, radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. However, affordable measures effective in reducing radon indoors are available, and when employed can prevent radon-induced lung cancer and save lives.
Testing your home for radon, and fixing it when needed, is one of the easiest ways to help keep your family safe and healthy. Reducing exposure protects families, saves lives, and avoids the health care costs of radon-induced lung cancer. A home with a reduced radon level is safer for all future occupants.
Testing is the only way to know the radon level in your home’s air.
Do-it-yourself radon test kits are affordable and readily available, or you can hire a qualified testing professional. The U.S. Surgeon General and EPA recommend you fix your home when the level of radon
is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air or greater. A qualified radon contractor can install an affordable mitigation system to reduce the radon level.
Taking action to reduce your exposure to radon is a long-term investment in your health and your home. A working mitigation system is a positive selling point for your home. In many areas, testing for radon is a standard part of real estate transactions. If you are building a new home, work with your builder to ensure radon-resistant features are included.
For more information on testing, test kits, fixing your home, or finding a qualified radon professional, view radon map, contact your state radon office or call 1-800-SOS-RADON.
The National Radon Action Plan, a public-private partnership launched in 2015, has set a goal of preventing 3,200 lung cancer deaths annually by 2020. Visit www.epa.gov/radon to learn more about radon and this partnership. Make 2016 a healthier, safer new year. Test your home for radon.
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