Have you ever heard of radon? If you haven't, you are not alone. Around 40% of Utahns do not know what radon is. However, radon is a big problem in Utah. It is known as a "silent killer" and is the #1 cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Let's take a look at what radon is and what we can do to prevent and treat for it.
What is radon?
Radon is a gas that is naturally found in soils and rocks; it is invisible, odorless, tasteless and radioactive. Radon occurs when uranium breaks down in rocks, soil and water. It is found everywhere, outdoors and indoors. Outside, where the air is moving constantly, radon never reaches dangerous, concentrated levels. However, it can become a hazard indoors where the gas can collect in enclosed spaces. Radon gas passes through cracks and openings in the foundation or walls of homes or buildings; and, the lower levels of homes and buildings are more susceptible to higher levels of radon gas. Due to high levels of uranium in its soil, Utah has the potential of having higher levels of radon gas.
Mark Stevens, an environmental scientist for Bear River Health Department, stated that over 50% of homes tested in the Bear River district have had high levels of radon (HJNews).
Why you should be concerned.
Why should you be worried about radon gas in your home? As mentioned previously, radon is a carcinogen that may cause lung cancer. So, when radon levels become too high, they become a risk factor to our health. Bits of radon gas can easily attach itself to dust or other particles in the air and can be inhaled into our lungs. Once inside, these bits of radon gas can give off radiation that may damage the cells and lead to lung cancer.
How to reduce your risk of overexposure.
The best thing you can do to reduce your exposure to radon is to test for it. There is “no safe level" of radon exposure. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that action be taken if levels of radon gas measure above 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). There are two types of tests that are used for radon testing: a short-term test and a long-term test. The EPA recommends starting with a short-term test which can be purchased at home stores for a relatively low cost. A long-term test takes over 90 days but will give a more accurate reading for average year round radon levels. There are also trained contractors that will test the radon levels in your home. If radon levels are testing at high rates, active air fans and sealed piping can be used; but, the EPA recommends hiring a qualified mitigation contractor to lower the levels of radon. Keep your family safe, test your radon levels today.
For more information on radon, please watch the video below and click on the links listed.