Take a deep breath in.
Did you know that right this minute, you could be inhaling a cancer-causing gas responsible for killing an average of 20,000 Americans each year? It’s true. The scariest part? This gas, known as radon, is virtually undetectable by our senses because it’s odorless, colorless, and tasteless. It’s a silent killer that can flourish under the radar in any home, any school, and any building. Luckily, increased exposure is totally preventable by using a good-quality radon detector. This month, in recognition of National Radon Action Month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urges you to get educated about radon prevention and to make indoor testing a habit so that you don’t become a statistic.
Radon, named the second leading cause of lung cancer in America (after smoking), is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is formed when uranium decays in soil, rock, and water. Although there’s always a small, non-threatening amount of radon lingering in the air outdoors, the gas can accumulate to dangerous levels inside homes and buildings. Most commonly, radon rises up from the ground soil and enters a home or building through cracks in the walls and floors or the water supply. Vulnerable “hotspots” include basements, first-floor rooms, and garages.
The only way to determine if your home or building is harboring unhealthy amounts of radon is by using an indoor radon detector. You can hire a qualified professional tester to do this or invest in an inexpensive detector that you can install yourself and use regularly. Radon levels are measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L), a measurement of radioactivity. Both the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control recommend that homes and buildings with radon levels at 4 pCi/L or higher undergo treatment to reduce their amount. A qualified radon mitigation contractor will help you determine the best method of radon reduction for your home or building.
Here’s a great indoor detector. The wall-mountable Safety Siren Radon Gas Detector Pro Series 3 is an EPA-approved testing device that accurately measures the naturally fluctuating radon levels within a home or building. The detector can be set to monitor both short-term and long-term average radon levels. Updated readings are displayed every hour on an LCD screen, and an audible alarm sounds anytime the level rises above 4 pCi/L. It’s an easy-to-use first line of defense against the dangers of increased radon exposure.
To learn more information about the health dangers of radon, check out EPA’s radon protection guide.