Hidden Home Dangers: RADON
Now, officially winter, we relish in resting and snuggling into the coziness of the indoors. But a silent invader poses a real threat to the sanctuary of our home as a healthy haven: RADON. This radical gas has grown slow attention despite being the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer. January is National Radon Action Month.
According to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Radon, a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas leaches into our homes through foundation cracks or basements. Breathing in this gas poses a cumulative health risk over years of exposure. The DPA estimates approximately 40% of all homes in PA have Radon levels above acceptable EPA guidelines. This means that trouble brews undetected posing serious harm. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) states that “lung cancer kills thousands of Americans every year” with Radon being the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking, but remains the #1 cause for non-smokers. However, both radon and lung cancer are detectable and treatable when caught early.
EPA.gov is a reliable information source for understanding Radon risk, testing, removal, and sources for dealing with it. Detection is extremely accessible, with hardware stores selling kits at an affordable $20-$30.
After an initial assessment, if Radon levels are above EPA standards, reputable companies can be requested for confirmation. A secondary test can confirm levels that require action, as radon levels can fluctuate. Testing should be done in the basement, or the ground floor if the home is built on a slab. If the second test confirms levels that require remediation, hire a certified Radon contractor to install a Radon Reduction system. These systems can cost between $500 and $2,000, depending on the amount of work and the size of the home. Average costs rest around $1,000. After installation, test to confirm Radon is reduced, as well as periodically maintaining the efficacy of the system.
You want to protect yourself and your loved ones now, and in the future. Minimal effort and expense now can have a great impact on a healthy future. Resolve to make January a month of a truly significant action: SAFETY!