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As Homes Cozy Up For Winter, Radon Levels Can Build

With winter on the way, many people are making sure best practices are in place for a weather-tight season. The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) November 1st Soils Matter blog post explains why “home sweet home” is worth an inexpensive radon test for peace of mind through the winter months.

Nick Comerford, a professor in the soil and water science department at University of Florida, explains how radon forms. Its parent material, uranium, is found in most soil. As uranium decays, it eventually becomes radon gas. Depending on the level, radon gas can lead to health issues, including lung cancer. The risk increases if cigarette smoke and other particles are also present.

“Radon can move as a gas through the soil and enter your house through holes in the foundation.” Comerford says. “These holes might be found in places like the shower, toilet, other drains, etc. Any dust particles you have floating around your house collect radon – which you can then inhale.”

Comerford reminds people the age of the home does not make it radon-free. “Newer homes are sealed very tightly – good for the environment. That leaves less room for radon gas to escape. And, they might also be built on very disturbed soil where uranium has been brought closer to the surface.”