In the recent years, radon gas has been posing more and more of a threat to the health of many Americans. Unfortunately, 1 in 15 American homes contain high levels of radon. Additionally, it is estimate that 21,000 people die every year in the U.S. due to radon exposure. Because of this, January has been named National Radon Action Month according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Radon forms during the decay of uranium-238 and enters homes usually through the foundation of the home itself. It is drawn into homes due to the negative pressure found in the lower levels of all structures. This may include cracks in basement floors, drains, sump pumps, exposed soil or loose fitting pipes.
Radon is now the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers around the world. One thing that makes it so profoundly dangerous is that it is naturally occurring, invisible and odorless. Therefore, one can be exposed to radon gas without even knowing it. Additionally, the gas is not isolated to certain regions. Even more chilling is that, radon gas has caused more fatalities than fires, handguns and carbon monoxide combined.
Measures absolutely need to be taken to prevent radon gas from infiltrating a house, and ultimately a healthy body. At home testing can be done by a homeowner through an at home kit that is EPA approved. Short-term and long-term tests can both be done depending on how quickly the results are needed.
Depending on the situation, sealing cracks in the floor and walls can help reduce the amount of radon. Another method is called “sub-slab depressuraziation” use fans and pipes to reduce the amount of the gas. For more severe levels, a contractor is very helpful to make adjustments to the cause and effects of the radon on a home.
For more information about radon, how it effects your home and prevention, visit the EPA’s radon awareness website. And check out this video created by the EPA to help raise radon awareness: