Radon in the News
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Metro is taking steps to lower radon levels inside schools following a NewsChannel 5 investigation.
Initial tests for the cancer causing gas showed high levels of radon at several schools.
On Wednesday, the Health Department released its latest round of tests, including re-tests from three schools. The tests reveal Metro has lowered radon levels at some schools, but other schools are still testing high.
Parents and employees at Two Rivers Middle have been concerned ever since the first round of tests showed some classrooms were more than ten times higher than what the EPA recommends.
"People are on edge," said PTO President Kelly Cooper after seeing the first test results. "Until we get those results back, I'm sure we'll have a lot worries about it."
When you make that decision to weatherize your home for energy savings, take a minute to also consider what effect these measures may have on your indoor air quality, especially on radon levels.
Radon, the naturally occurring soil gas, invisible and odorless, becomes a concern when it accumulates to unsafe levels inside buildings. High levels of radon can cause lung cancer and is blamed for about 21,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Fortunately, testing for radon is simple and inexpensive, and every home can and should be tested.
Many people erroneously believe that having a drafty home disqualifies them from having a radon problem. The reasoning is that with all the fresh air coming in, indoor air contaminants are diluted or flushed out. This may or may not be true.
Radon levels far above amounts posing cancer risks plagued the basement of Ann Arbor's city hall where police officers worked for many years, city records show.
Top city officials were aware of the problems, reports show, but measures taken — including a mitigation system installed in the 1990s — failed to keep radon below federal safety levels, and it wasn't until 2009 that the city moved employees out of the basement.
Members of the police officers union believe there may be a link between the radon in the air they breathed in the basement offices and health issues experienced by several officers, including two recent deaths.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.”
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.
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."