January has been designated National Radon Action Month by the Environmental Protection Agency to raise awareness and protect families against the dangers of radon. With more deaths from this colorless, odorless gas than from drunk driving, it’s wise to take some time to learn more about it and take action to lower your family’s exposure in the home.
What is Radon – And Why is It Harmful?
Radon is a radioactive gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless – in other words, impossible to detect without the right equipment. According to the EPA’s fact sheet on radon, “Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas released in rock, soil, and water from the natural decay of uranium. While levels in outdoor air pose a relatively low threat to human health, radon can accumulate to dangerous levels inside buildings. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and the number one cause among non-smokers.”
How Does Radon Enter the Home?
There are a number of risk factors a home can have for high levels of radon. Generally speaking, it’s any area that exposes your home to groundwater or underground soil where uranium is created is a risk. A few of the most common ways radon enters the home are:
- Cracks in the foundation of the home
- Well water
- Hot water heater
How to Take Action This Month
The EPA is recommending four ways to take action this month:
- Test your home for radon—it’s simple using products like the Safety Siren Pro Series 3 Radon Gas Detector.
- Attend a NRAM event in your area.
- Spread the word about the risks of radon to your family and friends, and point them in the direction of educational materials and testing equipment.
- Buy or build a radon-resistant house when it comes time to look for a new home.
With an estimated 1 in 15 homes having a dangerous level of radon, it’s important to take action in order to keep your family safe! I was certainly surprised to learn just how dangerous radon is – so I’ll be telling people all about it! Have you ever tested your home?
Photo Credit: DSC_0052.JPG by Adam Hiliker on Flickr.