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High Levels

Drought Increases Concerns About Radon Gas in Homes

OLATHE, Kan. — The drought in the midwest could be causing an unhealthy amount of radon gas to seep into your home, putting you and your family at risk of lung cancer. While that may sound overly dramatic, experts say it is a real concern.

Craig Istas said he was shocked how much radon was in his home.

“I built this house 20 years ago,” Istas said, “I’ve been breathing this stuff for 20 years, so yeah I got concerned about it.”

What is radon? It comes from uranium, found naturally in most soil, and as it decays it emits radon gas.

James Connell with A1 Radon said anything that measures less than four picocuries is considered safe. But Craig was shocked what A1 found in his house.

“I was out of town while he tested it, so I came back and he said ’25′ i was like wow!” said Istas.

Iowa Homes at Higher Risk for Elevated Radon Levels

Iowa Homes at Higher Risk for Elevated Radon Levels

It's silent. It's invisible. It sneaks into homes, often through basements, and kills hundreds of Iowans each year. But it's not some mythical predator; it's a gas.

As uranium deposits in the soil breakdown, they produce radon. When inhaled, particles of the colorless, odorless, tasteless gas continue their radioactive decay, which can cause lung cancer and other health problems.

January is National Radon Action Month.

William Field, a University of Iowa Public Health professor who specializes in radon, said the gas is the leading environmental cause of cancer death in the United States.

"Most homes are not built radon resistant," Field said. "It can move into the home through cracks in the foundation."

Dr. Joseph Merchant, an oncologist with the McFarland Clinic and Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center, said he has no doubt that many non-smokers who develop lung cancer do so because of radon exposure.

3 Family Members Diagnosed with Lung Cancer; Radon Suspected

DRAPER — She still doesn't know how it happened: three family members diagnosed with lung cancer in one year. And the strange thing is none of them ever smoked.

"(My husband) was 44 when he was diagnosed, and he died on his 45th birthday," said Mary Ann Williams, a resident of Draper. "My mother was diagnosed six days after I buried my husband ... that was hard to take. And then my daughter's mother-in-law, she passed away a year after my husband."

That was six years ago. Today, Williams wonders how it happened. She said her husband, Steve Williams, was in great shape. He ran marathons, went on big hikes and loved to ride his bike. But in the fall of 2005, he developed a bad cough.

"He had, kind of was feeling pressure on his chest," Williams said. "(The) doctor just decided he was stressed, didn't even listen to his lungs, just gave him cough medicine and went on his way."

The cough got worse. Several months later, Steve ended up in the hospital.

Washington City Council: Test Reveals High Radon Levels

The Washington City Council discussed the high radon level in the dispatch center at its meeting Wednesday night. The dispatch center was tested for radon a few weeks ago, and the results of the test were made public Tuesday. The test revealed that the first floor of the dispatch center has a radon level of 9.3 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter).

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends taking corrective measures to reduce radon levels if they are 4.0 pCi/L or above. Radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. The EPA estimates that radon claimed the lives of 20,000 Americans in 2009 through lung cancer. Of these, about 2,900 were people who had never smoked.

In a phone interview Thursday, Washington County Supervisor Wes Rich said he asked the radon testers ­– Breathe Easy Radon Testing in Kalona – to check for the gas on the first floor. Previous radon tests were confined to the basement of the dispatch center.

High levels of radon 'across Ireland'

There is no county in Ireland without a high level of radon gas, according to an update from the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII), issued today.

The organisation said that while counties in the west, southeast and south of the country are returning the highest rates of homes with high radon levels, every county is affected with the gas, which has been linked to up to 200 lung cancer deaths a year.

Radon is a colourless, odourless and tasteless radioactive gas which is naturally produced in the ground from the uranium present in small quantities in all rocks and soils. When inhaled, particles are deposited in individual's airways and on the tissue of the lung. This results in a radiation dose that can cause lung cancer.

Blue Ridge Elementary School radon levels above those allowed by EPA

Blue Ridge Elementary School radon levels above those allowed by EPA
The carcinogenic gas was found in levels above those allowed by the US Environmental Protection Agency.


WALLA WALLA -- Blue Ridge Elementary School families were to be notified today that the facility has tested high for levels of radon, a carcinogen.

Blue Ridge staff members were notified Tuesday about the results, which show radon, a radioactive gas, present above the acceptable level recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency. The gas, a class A carcinogen, has been linked to lung cancer in people who are exposed to it over time.

Mark Higgins, district spokesman, said staff were notified of the air quality results Tuesday, and that Blue Ridge parents and the general public were to be notified Wednesday. But at least one news source reported on the radon detection late Tuesday.

Council could have to pay €1m radon gas bill (Ireland)

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

High levels radon within Wicklow County Council's housing stock could see the council's finances spiralling out of control, as they face a bill of €1 million to bring the radon levels to an acceptable level.

Director of Services Michael Nicholson told members of the council on Monday that Wicklow has one of the highest levels of radon gas in the country.

He said the council currently had 2,200 houses on their books, 1,700 of them which had been built before 1998 when radon prevention measures came into place.

He said that to test each of these houses, at an average cost of €75 per house would cost €165,000. Any remedial works to houses affected would cost between €1,500 and €5,000 per house.

Two out of five homes in Douglas test for high levels of radon

Two out of five homes in Douglas test for high levels of radon

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Testing during the first half of 2009 revealed two out of five homes tested had elevated levels of the radioactive gas, one of the highest percentages in the state.

Douglas County residents turned in 912 radon tests during the first six months of year, 353 of which had levels higher than the action level set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

When added to previous testing, where 149, homes tested for high levels of radon out 314 usable tests, the total percentage was 40.9 percent. The total of 502 homes is the highest number in the state.

Residents packed Sheridan Acres Volunteer Fire Department in January when free radon testing kits were distributed.

A total of 255 kits were given out on a single evening and more were distributed by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.