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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.

USGS Finds Elevated Levels of Arsenic, Radon, Methane in Some Private Wells in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

Tests of 75 private drinking water wells in Lycoming County, in north-central Pennsylvania, found water from most of the sampled wells contained concentrations of radon that exceeded a proposed, nonbinding health standard for drinking water. Smaller percentages of the wells contained concentrations of arsenic or methane that exceed existing drinking water standards.

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Radon Testing Could Mean Difference Between Life and Death

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It's a cheap home test that could end up saving you and your family - a radon test. According to state health departments, Nebraska has very high incidents of radon in homes; Adams and Buffalo Counties having some of the highest concentrations.

News Five's Anthony Pura shows us how an inexpensive test can save you and your family.

It may be seeping into your home - high amounts of radon gas and you don't even know it.

"You can't see it, taste it, and smell it, so every house is suitable to radon," said Dick Hansen, Top to Bottom Home Inspection.

It's the second leading cause of lung cancer, right behind cigarettes.

"It's a long term issue. It might take 20 years before you can get lung cancer," Hansen said.

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.

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.

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.

Univ. of Nevada Cooperative Extension Contest: Test Your Home for Radon

January is National Radon Action Month and the Nevada Radon Education Program at University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) is sponsoring a “Test Your Home for Radon and Win Contest” for residents of Douglas, Carson City and Washoe counties.

The “Test Your Home for Radon and Win Contest” will provide two Carson City, Douglas or Washoe county homeowners with a $1,500 credit towards the installation of a radon mitigation system.

"We hope the contest encourages more homeowners to test their homes for radon," said Susan Howe, Nevada Radon Education Program director. "We're adding the incentive of winning two $1,500 credits toward two radon mitigation systems to increase awareness of the importance of mitigating homes with elevated radon levels."

Radon Test Results in Wisconsin Area Raise Red Flags

The results of radon testing in the Fox Valley are in — and it's not good news, especially in the Neenah-Menasha area.

The latest testing data compiled by the state Department of Health Services suggests nearly half the homes in Winnebago, Outagamie, Waupaca and Calumet counties contain radon concentrations surpassing the federal safety standard.

The readings reported in homes in Winnebago and Waupaca counties were off the charts, registering radon concentrations some 60 times higher than what the EPA deems safe.

David Daniels, the owner of Radon Specialists of Wisconsin in Neenah, knows that some residents question the prevalence of radon contamination in and near their homes. But he said that should not deter them from testing radon levels in their homes, using inexpensive and widely available radon test kits.

Radon Revisited

Sam Schneiderman, broker owner of Great Boston Home Team (our Monday guy) looks again at what to do about radon testing.

Last week, I mentioned a story about a radon inspection dispute that ended in court. The buyer wanted to cancel the purchase due to high radon results, but the seller refused to return the buyer’s deposit because the radon test was not performed to EPA standards.

Our vigilant readers reviewed EPA protocols and noted that a radon test done in an unfinished area does not meet EPA guidelines. A spirited discussion about the proper way to test for radon ensued, ending with sesw writing: “Surely you must be able to find an expert who can settle this matter. Otherwise, we are left to fend for ourselves on such a matter.” Good point.