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Radon in the News

Hot, Dry Summer may Increase Radon Flow in Your Home

The unusually hot, dry summer is increasing more than just the wildfire danger.

Some experts say it may be increasing the amount of radon gas inside your home.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from the earth. You can’t see it or smell it, but it is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

And while experts say we usually see increased levels of the gas in homes in the wintertime, the dry conditions this summer may also be channeling radon into homes.

“You get drier soils under houses and buildings and that can open up channels, of course dry soils are more porous than damp soil so you can actually have a stronger flow of radon under a building up into it,” said Steve Tucker with Cascade Radon.

Tucker also says opening upstairs windows to bring in the fresh air, something a lot of people do in the summer, can also increase the flow of radon into a home.

That's because radon is driven by both air flow and air pressure inside a home.

Is detection of radon a reason to cancel a home sale?

A home buyer recently wrote to the Washington Post about how, in their professional home inspection, the inspector found they had a faulty garage door and high levels of radon. It was advised that they cancel the contract based on the garage door. But instead of focusing on an early repairable garage door, wouldn’t the high radon levels have also enabled the buyers to cancel the sale?

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that permeates through the ground in some areas. If you breathe in too much of it, it can cause a lot of physical problems, especially in young children, who may experience all sorts of physical and developmental issues.

Professional home inspectors don’t generally test for radon, but almost every home buyer should have a test done. These tests often include leaving some sort of collection device at the home for a short period of time and then sending the device to a lab to have the results read.

A New Radon Action Plan is Being Developed: But It Won’t Work Unless We All Get Involved

After nearly 30 years of operating since the passage of the 1988 Indoor Radon Abatement Act, AARST has routinely notified policy makers that more Americans may be at risk from radon than ever before, despite years of government, non-government and industry effort to address radon risk reduction. In 2010, nine federal agencies came together to develop the Federal Radon Action Plan and to launch more than 30 new projects that promote radon action through three approaches:
• Testing for and mitigating high radon in buildings using professional radon services.
• Providing financial incentives and direct support where needed for radon risk reduction.
• Demonstrating the importance, feasibility and value of radon risk reduction.

Keny-Guyer Wins Resounding Approval for Radon Testing in Schools

The House voted 54-4 on Wednesday on a bill to get all schools in Oregon to test for radon by 2021.

House Bill 2931 will start the process by ordering the Oregon Health Authority to share its public health advice with schools about the hazards regarding radon. Each school district will then have to develop a plan for testing for the deadly element, and do so by the beginning of 2021.

“Radon is an odorless and invisible gas that seeps up through rock,” said Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland, the bill’s chief sponsor. “It’s the second-leading cause of lung cancer. … We want all schools to go through a testing process if they haven’t done so in the last 10 years.”

Radon is a naturally occurring gaseous element that leaks up from the ground in sporadic pockets across the state, from Scappoose to La Grande and east Portland to Salem. Radon inhalation kills 21,000 Americans each year. It is the easiest way to get lung cancer for non-smokers.

Radon danger found in Montana homes

Montana is famous for its geology. Our vast valleys and towering mountains are some of the reasons we love living here. However, because of that geology, more than 50 percent of the buildings and homes tested in Missoula contain dangerous levels of radon.

The good news is that testing for radon is easy. Inexpensive test kits can be obtained at the Missoula City-County Health Department. The test kits are easy to use and include instructions and a prepaid envelope for mailing to a lab for analysis.

Read more here

Radon is on county’s radar: Gas mitigation may become required

Some essential pieces of a radon-mitigation system could be built into every new home when the new county building codes are approved.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas released by decaying uranium in rocks, and long-term exposure can cause lung cancer. The gas is common in La Plata County, but there is no way to test for it before a house is built. So the county may require parts of radon-ventilation systems be included in every home as part an updated building code, said Butch Knowlton, director of the building department.

Updates to the code could be ready for adoption in early 2016, he told the county commissioners.

“It’s easier to mitigate with new home construction than it is to go back in an existing home and try to retrofit,” Knowlton said.

Radon requirements for buildings already have been adopted by many Colorado towns and counties, said Wendy Rice, a consumer science agent for the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension.

Radon Tests Could Be Required Under New County Council Bill

A new bill introduced Tuesday, June 16, 2015, by the Montgomery County Council would mandate that local home sellers test for the radioactive gas radon and provide buyers with the results.

The intent of the bill is to help home buyers be aware of the existence of the gas, which can cause serious illnesses and often occurs in single-family homes in the county, according to a memo about the bill provided to council members. Radon comes from the natural decay of uranium in rocks and soils and typically enters homes through cracks or other holes in the foundation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Combined effects of tobacco smoke and radon put Kentuckians at heightened risk of lung cancer

In Kentucky, a trifecta of risk factors contributes to a high prevalence of lung cancer.

High smoking rates and weak or nonexistent smoke-free laws in Kentucky are undeniably linked to high rates of lung cancer, but the soil underground also poses considerable dangers. Exposure to radon — an odorless, tasteless gas that escapes from our limestone-enriched landscape — also increases the risk of lung cancer. Our laws don't adequately protect Kentuckians through mandated testing and monitoring of radon levels or smoke-free protections.

Read more here

Is radon in Utah schools? KSL investigates

HOLLADAY — A silent killer may be lurking in Utah schools, but districts aren't required to test for it. Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that seeps up from the ground. Health officials say it is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Many Utahns have tested their homes and found high levels of radon, but what's going on in our schools?

To find out, the KSL Investigators teamed up with radon technicians and district officials to test six elementary schools in the City of Holladay: Cottonwood Elementary, Crestview Elementary, Howard R. Driggs Elementary, Morningside Elementary, Oakwood Elementary, and Spring Lane Elementary.

Armed with more than 200 charcoal test kits, Radovent technicians set out samples in every office, classroom, and space frequently occupied by teachers, students and staff.

Read more here

Separating fact from fiction concerning radon

Radon gas poses a real, yet easily managed threat to homeowners and homebuyers in Pennsylvania. However, the threats posed by radon gas, as well as the means for dealing with elevated levels of radon gas are often misunderstood by the general public. To help clear up the mysteries surrounding this silent killer, I sat down with local home inspection expert John Kerrigan of Reliable Home Inspection Service.

For more here