Health District Encourages Homeowners to Test for Radon Levels Linked to Lung Cancer

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People all over the country are discovering that they have levels of radon in their homes much higher than the level that the EPA tells us is safe. In fact, one out of every 15 homes in the United States have estimated levels of radon that are at or above the EPA action level.

Case in point: The Lahrs family in Lawton, Iowa, who recently found out that they were a part of this potentially deadly percentage. Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that emits naturally from the earth, but it’s one of the leading causes of lung cancer after cigarette smoking.

Like lead, no amount of radon is safe. The EPA recommends that action be taken if there are 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher, and the Lahrs test showed 6 pCi/L in their basement.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced by the decay of uranium. It is typically found in rocks, soil, and water. Radon has the chance to enter the home through cracks in foundations, trapping it in the basement. Breathing in radon at high levels over a long period has been known to cause lung cancer.

Unfortunately, the EPA estimates 6 million to 8 million U.S. homes have elevated radon levels. Due to this case of the Lahrs family in Iowa, the Department of Public Health decided to investigate the matter. They found that as many as five in seven homes have radon levels above 4 pCi/L. This happened in January, so it is now designated National Radon Action Month.

Radon kits are available so that homeowners can see for themselves what their risk is. Hundreds of kits are being sold every year. Luckily, there is action being taken to help reduce the levels of radon in homes. EPA to conducted a short-term radon testing study in homes across 42 states over four years. They have since created a system that can help put home owners at ease. Radon levels can be reduced by having an active radon mitigation system installed. “Systems consist of 4-inch PVC pipe that extends from a hole in the basement floor through the roof. A fan sucks the radon gas from below the slab up the pipe and vents it outside,” according to the Sioux City Journal.

Hopefully these systems can help homeowners not just in Iowa, but in homes all over the world, and even reduce the incidence of lung cancer.

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