It’s the second leading cause of lung cancer, behind smoking, yet many people never test their homes for radon. Mid-winter is an ideal time to test your home for the presence of this potentially dangerous gas. It’s suggested that you test again over time, even if you’ve tested your home previously.
There’s also some wisdom in testing during a couple of different seasons. If you smoke and have high levels of radon in your home, your lung cancer risk is exponentially higher. Risk from radon exposure is something that increases over long periods of time.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends radon testing in January. “Testing for radon is an easy and important step in protecting the health of your family,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Region Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “By reducing radon exposures, we can make our homes, schools and communities healthier places to live, learn, work and play.”
Of course, radon is a naturally occurring gas present at some level already. However if it builds up in your home over a certain action level set by the EPA, it’s suspected of acting as a carcinogen. The EPA action level of 4 picocuries per liter is the recommended threshold for correcting a radon problem in your home. This level is considered more conservative than what is recommended by the World Health Organization.
You can find a do-it-yourself radon kit at most home improvement stores. You can also contact your local health department to ask if free or low-cost radon kits are available. If your first test indicates a problem, you can hire a certified professional to conduct a more detailed radon test, as well. Construction professionals can assist with remedies for venting the radon out of your home, and it’s a good idea to request radon-reducing techniques whether or not they are required during new construction.
Here at the Flour Sack Mama blog, we’ve talked previously about testing for radon and how older homes and buildings like schools weren’t necessarily built with it in mind. The EPA offers information here.