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Radon in the News

Protecting Your Home From Radon Gas

Protecting Your Home From Radon Gas

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So you've glanced over your home and addressed all the safety risks such as lead paint and asbestos, but what about the dangers you can't see.

Here we have a typical Sioux Empire basement...but something is lurking in the air you can't see or smell...and what makes this scene so scary is the fact that most people don't even know they have it...a radioactive gas called radon.

"Actually South Dakota know much this it's an up and coming thing that people are just now becoming aware of,"said Co-President of Radon Mitigation Systems, Mike Hartman.

So what is radon? Well, it's a by product of uranium decomposing in the soil . It's a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas, but the most important thing you need to know...According to the EPA Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

Home Inspections an Essential Tool for Buyers

A home inspection often means the difference between a sale and no sale, even if the deal that results isn't exactly what the owner expected.

Buyers and sellers typically recognize the need for a home inspection. Still, it may put both sides of a sale on edge.

Sellers fear the inspector will find something amiss that slashes the price. Buyers fear the house they want will have problems.

Today, with so many houses for sale, inspections have become the chief tool for haggling over price.

"We are a coupon-clipping society," with people trying to save every penny they can, said Noelle Barbone, manager of Weichert Realtors' Media, Pa., office. "Real estate is no different."

Though he isn't always aware how the negotiations proceed after his work is done, Harris Gross, of Engineers for Home Inspection in Cherry Hill, N.J., said buyers were more apt to use an inspection report as leverage in this lean housing market than in the boom.

More Nashville Schools Find High Radon Levels

The Metro Public Health Department on Monday released preliminary results from more radon tests conducted at seven Metro Nashville Public Schools.

These results are for Margaret Allen and Oliver middle schools and Glencliff, Julia Green, Lakeview, Shayne and Tusculum elementaries. All except Shayne showed radon levels high enough for the Environmental Protection Agency to suggest intervention.

The health department has completed initial radon tests in 42 schools. All of the results are posted on the school district’s website, www.mnps.org.

A Metro ordinance requires the health department to periodically test all school buildings. Radon is a radioactive gas released during the decay of uranium, which naturally occurs in rocks and soil in Middle Tennessee.

Do Your Own Test for Radon

LONGMONT — In three days, the meter told the tale: a radon reading of 15 picocuries per liter.

A normal level is 4 or less.

Like that, Cal Youngberg’s employee knew she had some work to do on her home.

“It only cost her about $300 to bring it down to less than 2,” recalled Youngberg, the city’s environmental services manager who oversees Longmont’s home radon detector program.

The program kicked off Feb. 1 at the Longmont Public Library, allowing residents to check out one of four radon meters for a week. It’s proved to be a hit. Right now, there’s an eight-person waiting list for the devices — at 5 inches by 3 inches, a little smaller than one of the library’s paperbacks.

Colorado’s something of a hot spot for radon, a radio-active gas, thanks in part to the uranium in the state. But it’s not really predictable.

Leading Cause Of Lung Cancer Found In Ore. Homes

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A $10 Test Can Determine If Your Home Has Dangerous Levels of Radon

PORTLAND, Ore.-- -- Say the words "lung cancer" and cigarettes and secondhand smoke jump to mind.

But Oregon public health officials want people to think of another word: radon.

The gas found in homes around the state is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, according to the American Lung Association.

The gas, which occurs naturally when uranium in soil and rocks breaks down, is colorless and odorless.

The only way to find out if dangerous levels of radon are in your home is to test for it.

“I’ve been reluctant to do it because I’m afraid my house is going to have radon and I’m going to have to fix it,” said Alix Land, who lives in northeast Portland. “And for long as I don’t know that it has it, then I don’t have to do anything, which I know is crazy, but that’s the case.”

Reducing Radon Exposure a Personal Quest

Reducing Radon Exposure a Personal Quest

In 10 years, Dana Schmidt hopes to eliminate Castlegar’s radon problem through education and prevention.

When Schmidt’s wife, Donna, passed away of lung cancer two years ago, he took it upon himself to research different causes of the disease.

He found Castlegar had the highest rate of radon gas in the province (the first is Clearwater) and it’s the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

He started the Donna Schmidt Memorial Radon Abatement Fund to inform people about the risk of radon and the effect of lung cancer and to help people detect radon in their homes.

Radon is a colourless, odorless and tasteless gas found in the granite and rock around Castlegar. It occurs naturally as the decay product of uranium and flows through gravel into the air.

Through testing, Schmidt says 46 per cent of Castlegar’s homes are above Canadian standards and 57 per cent are above U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Utahns Exposed to Radiation More Than Those at Sea Level

Utahns Exposed to Radiation More Than Those at Sea Level

SALT LAKE CITY — The worry about trace amounts of radiation in milk and contamination from Japan reaching the West Coast — and some believe, Utah — has reignited the debate over what level of radiation is safe.

But nuclear engineers say everyone is exposed to radiation every day. There are even common household items that will set off a Geiger counter.

Gary Sandquist, professor emeritus of nuclear engineering from the University of Utah, says Utahns are exposed to more radiation every day than those living at sea level, since exposure goes up for each hundred feet of elevation.

Plus, Utah's rich granite deposits in the Wasatch Mountains contribute to radiation exposure.

"We have a lot of granite, and we also have an active fault, the Wasatch Fault," Sandquist said. "And this material, as a result, allows radon and other materials to move in."

29 Nashville Schools Test High for Radon

Unsafe amounts of the potentially toxic gas radon were found in fifth-grade classrooms, the guidance office and other rooms in the southern wing of Two Rivers Middle School, one of 35 Metro schools tested last month.

Two Rivers had some of the highest levels found by the radon tests, but 29of the schools tested had trace amounts at levels higher than the Environmental Protection Agency says is safe, according to results released Friday by the Metro Public Health Department, which led the testing.

"We haven't gotten calls yet. Those will probably start on Monday as everyone runs to see what the report says," Two Rivers Principal Bill Moody said, adding that the school may get parent requests to move their children to other classrooms.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas released during the decay of uranium, found in most rock and soil and common in Middle Tennessee. Continued exposure over time can lead to lung cancer.

Radon in Spokane Homes More of a Risk Than Milk

The detection of trace amounts radioactive isotope Iodine-131 this week in milk being sold in Spokane has raised anew questions about the extent of radiation exposure from the Japan nuclear crisis.

But officials say people are exposed to more radiation in their homes each day than from drinking milk.

The Spokane area has higher naturally occurring radiation levels than other parts of the state, but that is mostly due to elevated radon levels in the soil, said Dr. Joel McCullough, Spokane County health officer.

Indeed, homeowners here have been urged for decades to have their homes tested for radon, which can be abated.

There is no danger from milk in this region, officials said, nor is there a radiation danger posed by drinking water or precipitation.

10 Short Videos by Illinois High School Students Compete for Radon Awareness Award

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Members of the public voting on line will decide the winner of the 2011 Illinois High School Radon Video Contest.

The contest -- promoting awareness of dangerous-but-naturally occurring radon gas -- is sponsored by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the American Lung Association in Illinois.

Online voting will be through midnight April 5.

Ten finalists were chosen from nearly 100 videos submitted. A panel of judges from the sponsors reviewed the entries for accuracy, creativity and effectiveness in encouraging people to test their homes for the radioactive gas.

Prizes for first, second and third places will be awarded. First prize is $2,000 to the winning school and $1,000 to the class or student creator.

Online: http://www.healthhouse.org/radon/videocontest.cfm