RadonLeaders.org
Skip top navigation

Homeowners

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!

Most New Jerseyans ignore radon risk, inspecting only when selling a house

Radon is one of the scariest things that can turn up in a house. It's the second most common cause of lung cancer, after smoking, and kills an estimated 500 New Jerseyans a year, experts say.

Despite the risk, most people think about radon only when it's time to buy or sell a home, when buyers request that the house be tested for the colorless, odorless gas. But experts say homeowners should check for it even if they're not planning to move.

The remediation system travels out the roof in this Oradell home. The gas is the result of the natural breakdown of radioactive material in the ground and can be hazardous when trapped inside a house.

A remediation system traveling up through the basement floor.
"We don't want people to just wait till they're selling their home to fix radon problems," says Kevin Stewart, director of environmental health of the American Lung Association in New Jersey.

How to test a home

Missouri Radon Levels Higher Than Previously Thought

It's silent, invisible, and a major cause of cancer. In addition, a surprising number of houses in the St. Louis area have too much of it, according to recent test figures.

Many Missouri home owners don't know about radon, or it’s risk, until it's too late. And state politicians aren't doing much to fix the problem.

“Seems like someone should have brought it up before. I don't want to end up dying from lung cancer,” said Wentzville homeowner Brian Hunsicker.

There's something in Brian and Joanne Hunsicker's home steadily stealing years from their lives. It’s cancer- caused by an odorless, radioactive gas called radon. It seeps out of the soil and into many homes across Missouri and the nation.

“Radon is responsible for about 21,000 deaths each year,” said Dr. Bill Field, an internationally-acclaimed Radon expert.

In fact, Field says, radon is the number two cause of lung cancer in the U.S...a surprise for many of its victims.

Radon Testing Now Mandatory For Montgomery County Home Sales

Montgomery County is the first local government in the U.S. to mandate testing for radon gas before a home can be sold. The Environmental Protection Agency says homes in the county are at particular risk for having dangerous levels of the gas.

Most single-family homes would have to be tested for radon before they are sold under a measure the county council gave unanimous approval. Maryland state law already encourages home sellers to test for it and mandates that if radon is detected, they tell the potential buyer. But testing isn't required by the state, and county councilman Craig Rice feels home buyers should know what they are getting.

"We are just asking people to test. Just to make sure that they know what may be lurking in their homes unknown that might be a silent, deadly killer," Rice says.

Radon gas is invisible and radioactive. It comes from the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. Humans exposed to it have greater rates of cancer and other diseases.

Montgomery Co. Considers Controversial Bill Requiring Home Sellers to Test for Radon

In Maryland, home sellers who know that their homes have elevated radon levels are required to disclose that information to prospective buyers. However, at present, home sellers have no duty to measure the radon levels in their homes.

That could change in Montgomery County if the County Council approves a controversial bill that would mandate radon testing.

Bill 31-15, sponsored by Council members Craig Rice (D-Upcounty) and Sidney Katz (D-Gaithersburg-Rockville), would require home sellers to test their homes for radon and provide the results to prospective home buyers before entering a sales contract. If the bill is enacted, Montgomery County would become the only jurisdiction in the country to mandate radon testing.

Read more here.

High radon levels in Iowa homes 'surprise' University of Iowa researchers

IOWA CITY, Iowa — You can't see it, you can't smell it, but it causes cancer. It's radon, and a recent study by the University of Iowa suggests it can be found at higher than recommended levels in many Iowa homes.

Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas caused by the uranium in the Earth's crust. It can be found in concentrated levels, often in the lower levels of homes. According to state officials, it's the second leading cause of lung cancer in the nation.

The UI study was conducted in 2013 and published last month. Researchers tested more than 350 homes in the small northwest Iowa town of Akron.

Learn more here.

Radon Awareness Week in the City of Fort Collins

The City of Fort Collins encourages residents to test the radon levels in their homes as Radon Awareness Week approaches starting October 19. Radon is a colorless, odorless, naturally-occurring gas associated with serious health concerns such as cancer.

The City offers zero-interest loans to assist with mitigation costs when radon is present. The loans range from $1,000 – $3,000 and can assist with up to 90 percent of the costs associated with radon mitigation. Radon tests must be completed prior to applying for these loans. More information about air quality loans may be found at http://www.fcgov.com/airquality/loan.php.

Additionally, radon test kits are part of the City’s Healthy Homes free in-home air quality assessments. To schedule an assessment, go to www.fcgov.com/healthyhomes.

Read more here.

Drought can increase radon gas risks

The severe drought baking some parts of the United States—particularly California and the Pacific Northwest—may be increasing the risk of radon gas inside homes.

s water tables drop in some areas, lower depths that can contain uranium and radon are exposed, according to experts. As the uranium ore decays over time, it produces radon, a radioactive gas that has been linked to lung cancer.

"What happens in drought conditions is the aquifers are getting lower and lower and exposing more bedrock and more uranium," said James Connell of A1 Radon in Olathe, Kansas. "Cracks in the ground and cracks in people's foundations allow those radon gases to come up."

Jeanne Case, who lives just outside Portland, Oregon, recently tested for radon at her home and it showed levels three times the safe limit. "It never even occurred to me ... I was so convinced we didn't have it," Case told NBC Portland affiliate KGW-TV.

Hot, Dry Summer may Increase Radon Flow in Your Home

The unusually hot, dry summer is increasing more than just the wildfire danger.

Some experts say it may be increasing the amount of radon gas inside your home.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from the earth. You can’t see it or smell it, but it is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

And while experts say we usually see increased levels of the gas in homes in the wintertime, the dry conditions this summer may also be channeling radon into homes.

“You get drier soils under houses and buildings and that can open up channels, of course dry soils are more porous than damp soil so you can actually have a stronger flow of radon under a building up into it,” said Steve Tucker with Cascade Radon.

Tucker also says opening upstairs windows to bring in the fresh air, something a lot of people do in the summer, can also increase the flow of radon into a home.

That's because radon is driven by both air flow and air pressure inside a home.

Is detection of radon a reason to cancel a home sale?

A home buyer recently wrote to the Washington Post about how, in their professional home inspection, the inspector found they had a faulty garage door and high levels of radon. It was advised that they cancel the contract based on the garage door. But instead of focusing on an early repairable garage door, wouldn’t the high radon levels have also enabled the buyers to cancel the sale?

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that permeates through the ground in some areas. If you breathe in too much of it, it can cause a lot of physical problems, especially in young children, who may experience all sorts of physical and developmental issues.

Professional home inspectors don’t generally test for radon, but almost every home buyer should have a test done. These tests often include leaving some sort of collection device at the home for a short period of time and then sending the device to a lab to have the results read.