Radon is a health hazard with a solution
None of our five senses can detect the presence of radon. Radon has no short-term health effects that are noticeable in humans. But in many cases, long term radon exposure can go unnoticed until it's too late.
Radon is a radioactive gas that forms naturally when uranium, thorium, or radium, break down in rocks, soil and groundwater. People can be exposed to radon primarily from breathing contaminated air that comes through cracks and gaps in buildings and homes or openings around sump pumps or drains. If radon detection discovered, it can be a health concern.
Timothy Ungs, MD with Regional Health Urgent Care, says, “You can inhale it potentially … eventually it goes to lead, thorium, some other things. It can attack the lining of the lung, and that is the concern, it’s the second most known cause for lung cancer. ”
Since radon colorless, odorless, and tasteless. It’s invisible. The only way to detect it is through a test.
“Hopefully your builder followed code and like other grounds, your electricity is grounded properly and all those things, that if you are not an expert in that area, you assume that they followed code, that would have been looked at. But if you have your own separate concern, you can relatively easily test for it.”
Owner of Black Hills Professional Home Inspections, Brad Banks, says he has tested many homes in the Black Hills area, and no one is off limits to radon exposure. He says radon can be found in any type of foundation, including slab on grade, walk out basements, crawlspaces, and mobile homes.
Tests are conducted in the lowest level of a home, typically a basement bedroom. The tester takes a sample of air every hour for 48 hours. Brad says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants levels below 4.0 and if your home tests higher, a ventilation system should be in place.
Banks says, “A mitigation system with a fan that sucks it out from underneath the slab of the house or the crawlspace and pushes the radon back outside.”
So if you question the amount of radon in your home, get tested to breath easy.
Ungs, “And it’s an important not to have an inherit, over exaggerated fear, it’s just an awareness like a lot of other health hazards.”
Click here for more information about Radon through the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.
The EPA recommends that a home’s radon level should be reduced to 2pCi/L or lower.
Not everyone who is exposed to radon will develop lung cancer. There are many other factors that play a role in increasing or decreasing the risk, including:
How much radon is in the home
The amount of time spent in the home
Whether the person is a smoker or has ever smoked – smokers have a higher risk of developing radon-induced lung cancer.
If your level was found using a short term (2-4 day) test and the level is between 4-8 pCi/L, the EPA recommendation is to conduct further testing using a Long Term Test Kit (3-12 month).
Those testers can be purchased at Menards or online. These kits come with directions and instructions on how to set up the testing equipment.