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Radon in the News

Q&A: “Should I test for radon if the home already has a radon mitigation system?”

When a home already has an active radon mitigation system, is it even worth testing for radon? That's a great question. To answer that, allow me to share a quick story.

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Test your home for radon to save money, your life

FAIRBANKS — What did it cost you last time you went to the doctor or dentist? I mean before insurance, Medicare or Medicaid kicked in to bring down the cost. And that may have been just for a routine checkup or work/school annual physical. What if you needed treatment for lung cancer?

The National Cancer Institute reports the cost for the initial treatment of lung cancer in 2010 was $60,553 for women and $60,885 for men. Subsequent annual continued treatment was $8,130 and $7,591 respectively. The problem with this cancer is not only treatment expenditures, but also of survival. According to the America Cancer Society, most lung cancers have spread widely and are in advanced stages when they are first found.

But what if a simple test could alert you to the presence of the second leading cause of lung cancer — radon? Certified professionals will give you a detailed hourly average of radon levels in your home with sophisticated machinery for a couple hundred dollars.

New Tech Protects Homes from Invisible Radon Threat

You don’t have to smoke to get lung cancer. If you’re unlucky and don’t take precautions, all you have to do is breathe the air in your home.

Radon — a colorless and odorless radioactive gas found in soil — causes more than 21,000 deaths from lung cancer every year in the U.S. — more than carbon monoxide and house fires combined. Released from rock, soil and water, the uranium-derived gas can reach dangerous levels in even the best-built homes.

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Medical and Health Groups Endorse the National Radon Action Plan

Some of the nation’s leading medical and health groups have officially declared their support of the National Radon Action Plan. The American Thoracic Society, the American Public Health Association, the Asthma and Allergy Network and Trust for America’s Health have all signed on to the goals and strategies in the plan. They have been encouraged to share this with their members and to join in actions to support the implementation of the plan.

National Tribal Air Association Supports the National Radon Action Plan

The National Tribal Air Association has signed on in support of the National Radon Action Plan. This organization works to improve indoor and outdoor air quality for American Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives. They have long targeted radon reduction as a key part of their overall work.

Radon Could Be A Hidden Threat In Your Home

Realtor Debra Harris had found just what her client wanted.

A duplex on Morgan Street in Throop was remodeled, in move-in condition and at a price she could afford. It checked all her boxes for an investment property. But when the home inspection came back, there was an issue: radon.

A walk through the home wouldn’t show any sign of the odorless, colorless gas that comes from the decay of uranium.

The gas causes lung cancer and is the primary cause of the cancer among people who don’t smoke, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Luzerne and Lackawanna counties, and most counties in Pennsylvania, are in the EPA’s highest zone for highest potential for unhealthy radon levels.

“She was going to have tenants in there, so she definitely needed that addressed,” Harris said.

The seller wound up installing a radon mitigation system to close the deal. As Harris remembers, it cost about $2,500.

Radon Increases Risk for Malignant Skin Cancer

It is undisputed that radon is a risk factor for developing lung cancer. New research by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) in the context of the Swiss National Cohort study now shows that the naturally occurring radioactive gas radon within one's home also increases the risk to develop malignant skin cancer (malignant melanoma).

The study titled "Effects of Radon and UV Exposure on Skin Cancer Mortality in Switzerland" is published in the scientific peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives. It examines the impact of radon and UV exposure on mortality due to malignant skin cancer in Switzerland.

The study analyzed 1,900 deaths due to malignant melanoma which occurred throughout Switzerland between 2000 and 2008 in people aged 20 years and above. The residential radon exposure was modeled on the basis of 45,000 measurements and accounted for the housing's characteristics and the geological conditions of the area.

State Encourages People to Test Homes for Radon

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers in the United States. Idaho is one of the worst states when it comes to high levels of Radon in homes. Which is why the Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare wants homeowners to test their home for the radioactive gas.

"Everyone should test their home for radon because you do not know if you have high levels unless you do test," said Jim Faust with the dept. of health and welfare.

Currently, tests are only $9.95, normally the costs is about $40 the tests include shipping and a lab analysis. If you are interested in getting your home tested, sign up for a kit at www.radonidaho.org.

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High Radon Reading Not Enough to Give Up on a Dream Home

Radon, a radioactive, odorless gas emitted from the soil is surprisingly common in North Carolina, and it is a concern for homeowners or those looking to buy a house.

A home inspection should always include a radon test. Radon can seep into homes and buildings through cracks. Inhaling it has been linked to lung cancer, killing an alarming 21,000 people a year.

If a home test shows high levels of radon, it's not the end of the world. Radon-related deaths are connected with exposure over the course of a lifetime, and Consumer Reports says that exposure can be dealt with.

"You should definitely take it seriously, but you really don't need to walk away from the home. It's actually pretty easy to remove radon, and it's not that expensive," said Paul Hope, Consumer Reports home editor.

Consumer Reports: Is it safe to buy a home with elevated radon level?

What is radon, and why is it dangerous?

The action level for radon, the level where the health risk warrants fixing, is 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/l). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that one in 15 homes nationwide has an elevated level of radon (a level at or above the action level), while one in four homes tested in Nevada has an elevated radon level.

Because Nevada lacks any regulations that protect citizens from radon, the first step toward risk-reduction occurs through education. The second step is to test, as testing is the only way to determine a home or building's radon level.

Additionally, a home should be tested every two years, before or after remodeling and after significant seismic activity.

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