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Do I Have a Radon Problem at my House?

As Homes Cozy Up For Winter, Radon Levels Can Build

With winter on the way, many people are making sure best practices are in place for a weather-tight season. The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) November 1st Soils Matter blog post explains why “home sweet home” is worth an inexpensive radon test for peace of mind through the winter months.

Nick Comerford, a professor in the soil and water science department at University of Florida, explains how radon forms. Its parent material, uranium, is found in most soil. As uranium decays, it eventually becomes radon gas. Depending on the level, radon gas can lead to health issues, including lung cancer. The risk increases if cigarette smoke and other particles are also present.

“Radon can move as a gas through the soil and enter your house through holes in the foundation.” Comerford says. “These holes might be found in places like the shower, toilet, other drains, etc. Any dust particles you have floating around your house collect radon – which you can then inhale.”

Indoor radon: What you need to know about this deadly poison

You can’t see it, smell it or taste it, but radon gas could be in your home causing serious health problems for you and your family.

Believe it or not, the EPA has ranked indoor radon as among the most serious environmental health issues today. With stakes that high, it’s time to learn more. Erlend Bolle, CTO of Airthings, manufacturer of quality radon detectors, shares the following facts.

Read more here.

Having children at home did not prompt parents to test for radon, secondhand smoke

A University of Louisville School of Nursing researcher has found that the presence of children in the home did not motivate parents to test and mitigate for radon and secondhand tobacco smoke, both of which cause lung cancer. The findings highlight a need to raise awareness on these exposure risks and their long-term impact on children.

Read more here.

Five Years Later, Radon Levels are Lingering Reminder of 2011 Louisa Earthquake

It’s been nearly five years since an earthquake hit Virginia, toppling chimneys and brick walls, cracking foundations and toppling furniture. No one was killed or seriously injured, and for many people, it’s just an exciting memory, but for some the quake may have produced a silent but dangerous problem for homeowners.

Wolfgang Hermann runs a company called Central Virginia Radon -- testing for and getting rid of a radioactive gas that comes from rocks and soil - leaking into houses and putting their residents at increased risk for lung cancer. Shortly after the Mineral earthquake, he made a surprising discovery.

“I went to a customer who had a radon monitor at home, a plug in device where they could detect, yes, after the earthquake it went up twice as much.”

And he heard of other cases where the same thing happened.

Read more here.

Health officials hope new radon map will spur home testing

The Minnesota Department of Health is promoting a new interactive statewide map of radon levels to encourage residents to test for the carcinogenic gas.

The department said about two in five homes have dangerously high radon levels. Dan Tranter, supervisor of the Health Department's radon program, said he hopes the new map will spur people to test for the gas, which is the No. 2 cause of lung cancer.

All homes should be tested for radon even where the new map suggests the overall radon threat is relatively low, Tranter said.

"There are differences between counties when you look at the map you'll see southern Minnesota [and] western Minnesota tend to have higher radon levels, but we do see high radon levels across the state," said Tranter. "Every county, every ZIP code has high radon levels. So the way the public should use this is to stimulate their interest in the subject."

Is Your Home a Death Trap? What You Need to Know About Radon in Your Home

Real estate is all about location, location, location – and in more ways than one. As scientific research grows more sophisticated about naturally occurring toxins that are harmful to people’s health in large doses, what's in the soil beneath your home becomes an important part of that location concern as well.

Radon is one gas gaining significant attention in real estate transactions, as the National Radon Safety Board estimates nearly 1 in 15 homes in the U.S. have elevated radon levels – above the federally recommended 4 picocuries per liter of air, a unit of measurement for radioactivity.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends all homeowners test their home’s radon level, as radon is now reported as the second leading cause of lung cancer in Americans, after smoking. As awareness of the dangers of radon exposure increases, the EPA also advises testing a home's radon levels before buying or selling it.

Does Your Home or Building Need Radon Testing?

"Radon" sounds like a secret supervillain, and you could say that's essentially what it is. An invisible, odorless gas, radon concentrates in homes and buildings, exposing those who breathe it in to the second-top cause of lung cancer in the U.S. The good news is radon testing is simple; high-radon homes can be mitigated or fixed – and free or reduced-cost testing is offered in many areas.

Learn more about radon, mitigation, and testing for peace of mind.

Radon Poster and Video Contest Launch

January launched the annual Radon Poster and Video Contests for Illinois and Iowa. The Poster Contest calls on students ages 9-14 to create a radon poster that will increase public awareness of radon gas and encourages others to test their home. Students can win scholarships ranging from $50-$300. All posters and forms are due by March 1, 2016. For contest details and to view last year’s winners please visit http://healthhouse.org/radon/ia_poster.cfm for Iowa and http://healthhouse.org/radon/il_poster.cfm for Illinois.

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National Radon Action Month: Spreading awareness

You can't see it, smell it, or taste it in your home but there may be dangerous levels or radon lurking in your house.

About twenty-one thousand Americans die each year from lung cancer caused from radon. The month of January is National Radon Action month and the EPA and U.S. Surgeon General are encouraging everyone to test their homes, businesses, and schools.

"I see a lot of people with cancer. Probably once every two weeks I'm in somebody's home that has had cancer and don't have an explanation for it, in particular lung cancer and have come to find out that their radons high," said Kevin Siers, owner of KSA Radon Services.

Other prevention techniques the EPA is promoting this month are spreading the word and attending a radon awareness event in our area.

Learn more about how you can raise awareness!