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Radon in the News

Building Healthy Homes: Construction Business Specializes in Radon Mitigation Systems

Building Healthy Homes: Construction Business Specializes in Radon Mitigation Systems

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa --- January has been designated National Radon Action Month by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Radon has been identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, second only to smoking. Radon gas killed 20,000 Americans in 2010 according to EPA findings.

Local contractor Lonnie Mallon, owner of Mallon Construction Services, is on board with the EPA in educating the public on the health risks due to radon gas exposure. Mallon has owned his own construction and remodeling business since 1982 but made radon mitigation his primary focus in 1992.

Q&A: What Happens if You Find Radon at Home?

Q&A: What Happens if You Find Radon at Home?

If there’s a health concern inside a home, Mindy Uhle can help county health departments and the public to address the issue. She’s the Healthy Homes Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Among the issues she addresses is radon, a gas that, in high levels, can cause health problems. To test for radon, homeowners can go to a hardware store to purchase an inexpensive charcoal test kit that can be placed on the lowest livable level of a home for a reading and then mailed to the manufacturer’s laboratory for results.

Q. What’s your role as the Healthy Homes Coordinator for the IDPH?

A. My role is to support county environmental health staff and provide information to the general public on health and housing issues.

Q. What is radon and how is it found inside a home?

Radon Testing: Lung Cancer Survivor Encourages Iowans to Test Homes

Watch this news segment.

This month the Iowa Department of Public Health is reminding Iowans to test their home for radon. The poisonous gas affects more households in Iowa than any other state in the country.

Gail Orcutt of Pleasant Hill was diagnosed with lung cancer last spring and had to have her left lung removed. When she was home recovering, she came across an article about lung cancer in non-smokers.

"It was all about radon. So we tested our house. It came back higher than it should be," she said.

The life-long non smoker, then discovered her home of 18 years had unsafe radon levels. Now she's working to encourage more Iowans to test their homes for radon.

Radon: Dealing With a Common Problem

Robert Wagner and Bruce Thomas say only about half of their clients bother to schedule a checkup for a radioactive gas that could cause 20,000 deaths this year.

That casual approach is in a state with a "severe" threat level, adds Bob Lewis from the Department of Environmental Protection.

They are talking about the danger from radon, a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that seeps from the ground and can enter homes and buildings, leading to lung cancer. It is a problem that can be detected by a simple process costing less than $150 and remedied in a mitigation for about $1,500.

The Environmental Protection Agency has declared January National Radon Action Month in an effort to promote detection.

William Long, director of the EPA's Center for Radon and Toxics, says awareness efforts are the best way of making people realize radon is the second-leading cause of all lung cancer deaths in the United States and the leading cause of environmental cancer mortality.

In Highlighting Radon's Risks, Context Needed

In case you haven't heard, it's National Radon Action Month.

Every January, the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies hit the airwaves to tell us that radon gas can kill and that every home should be tested. But that message skips over many complexities surrounding the risks from radon.

Radon is a heavy, radioactive gas that can seep out of the soil into basements and other parts of a house. There's no question that inhaling a lot of radon is bad for you, but some scientists think such statements could use a little context.

Phil Price, a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, has spent a lot of time studying radon. He is willing to accept the government's rough estimate that radon causes about 21,000 deaths from lung cancer each year. But, he says, people should know something about that number.

Why Your Home is More at Risk for Radon

DENVER - It is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers: radon. And the gas is more likely to be found in Colorado than in many other parts of the country.

"Colorado is a highly mineralized state," Warren Smith of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said. "So uranium occurs naturally in our soil and as it breaks down, it can become radon gas, which can percolate up to the soil and collect in your home."

Three years ago, siblings 12-year-old Christina and 11-year-old Eric Bear had never even heard of the dangers of radon. Now, after winning two state poster contests, they are expert educators trying to spread the word.

"We don't think many people know about radon. That's why we're trying to do the awareness project," Eric said.

The children travel across the state and have created their own website: www.radondetecttoprotect.info.

Illinois Agency, Others Meet to Talk Radon

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois officials want to raise awareness about a leading cause of lung cancer. And it's not smoking. It's radon.

Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that seeps from the ground into homes and buildings. The Environmental Protection Agency says it's the second leading cause of lung cancer. Among nonsmokers, it's the leading cause.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency held a meeting in Springfield Tuesday with health officials, contractors, teachers and others to share ideas about how to educate people about the dangers of radon.

The IEMA says radon's been detected in more than 40 percent of Illinois homes tested. It says there are nearly 1,200 radon-related lung cancer deaths in the state each year.

Radon can often be dealt with in buildings by installing special ventilation systems.

To view this article, visit http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-il-radonawareness,0,4157677.story.

Welcome to Gardnerville, Test for Radon

Welcome to Gardnerville, Test for Radon

It's an odorless, tasteless gas that rises naturally from the soil and lurks in the quiet corners of many Douglas County homes.

It's also the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer among smokers.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 21,000 people die each year from exposure to radon gas in their home.

A meeting for residents to share information about testing for radon and reducing levels that are above the safe minimums will be held 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the CVIC Hall in Minden.

Members of the Cooperative Extension made a presentation to Douglas County commissioners on Monday, where the county declared January Radon Action Month.

Nevada Radon Education Program Director Susan Howe said Lake Tahoe is a hotspot for the gas, but that it has been detected in homes throughout the county.

Radon detection kits are available free from the Cooperative Extension Office in Gardnerville.

Winter is the Time to Test for Radon

NEVADA - Elevated levels of radon have been found in 37 percent of the Carson City homes that have been tested, said Susan Howe, program director for the Nevada Radon Education Program through the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

Howe was in Carson City this past week to request that the board of supervisors declare January National Radon Action Month.

Howe said that the radon percentage is even higher — 56 percent — in the 89703 zip code, and nearly 43 percent in the 89702 area. In the 89706 neighborhoods, which include a portion of Lyon County, the percentage was nearly 22 percent, and in 89701, it was more than 26 percent. In 89705, which is mostly Douglas County, it was nearly 20 percent.

Radon levels are measured in picoCuries per liter, or pCi/L. Most households testing positive in Carson City were in the 0-20 range, some were up to 50, but one home in the 89701 zip code area measured levels of over 100.

Radon: The hidden danger in Montana

Watch this KPAX news segment.

BOZEMAN - You can't see it, smell it or taste it, yet it's the leading cause of non-smoking lung cancer in the United States. And that is why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared January National Radon Action Month.

So, what is radon? The Gallatin County Health Department told us all about radon and why it is so important to Montana.

"The Bozeman area, and actually the state of Montana, is at the highest class of radon content just based on our mineral content in the ground and just our geological features of the state," sanitarian Treavor Johnson said.

Radon is a naturally occurring radio-active gas caused from uranium in the soil which enters homes often undetected. Statistics show that 50 percent of all homes in Montana will test positive for high levels of radon, potentially causing health risks.