LANSING, Mich. — Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment and can cause serious adverse health effects in those who are exposed to it. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared January as National Radon Action Month. This is an effort to raise radon awareness in both home and business owners.

While smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer in adults, exposure to radon is the most common cause of this disease in people who do not smoke tobacco products. People who smoke and are exposed to radon at home or work have the highest risk of developing lung cancer. Radon awareness is important because this gas often goes undetected because it is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. If radon is present, it can enter homes through gaps in construction joints, cracks in the foundation, open areas around ill-fitting pipes, and in the water supply.

Radon develops during the breakdown of radioactive gases in uranium found in water, soil, and rock that seeps into the air or water. This can occur anywhere in the United States. Radon is most problematic when levels are high inside the home and workplace because this is where people spend most of their time. Fortunately, there are tests available to determine radon levels that are inexpensive and easy to use. Radon levels are measured in “picocuries per liter of air.” The EPA recommends that all homeowners test for radon and obtain radon mitigation if indoor levels are at or above 4 pCi/L. Homeowners can test for radon themselves or hire a professional contractor who offers this service. People who find high levels of radon inside their home, should also test the water supply if it comes from a well.

An important point to note is that there are no known safe levels of radon. The best way to avoid problems is to reduce any level of radon in homes, offices, or schools. There are vent pipe systems for homeowners that work by pulling radon away from the home’s foundation and venting it to the outside. Sealing gaps and cracks in and around the foundation can also help reduce radon levels. Since radon is a dangerous gas, it is recommended that homeowners seek advice from a professional contractor who has experience dealing with these issues.

Radon Action Month was enacted to bring attention to the importance of radon awareness. Most homes can be made safe with radon mitigation procedures. Each state has a radon office that can give home and business owners the names of those qualified to reduce radon levels. The EPA also recommends that radon testing be done every few years after radon mitigation, to be sure that radon levels remain minimal. SWAT Environmental announced that it is offering a radon test kit for $10 at using code TST410.

Publication date: 1/14/2016

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