What is radon?
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium; a natural element in soil.
Where is radon found?
The major source of high levels of radon in homes is soil surrounding the house that may contain uranium, granite, shale, phosphate and pitchblende. The radon gas from the soil can enter a home or building through dirt floors, hollow-block walls, cracks in the foundation floor and walls, and openings around floor drains, pipes and sump pumps.
What are the health effects of radon?
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, resulting in thousands of deaths each year in the United States. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. As radon decays and is inhaled into the lungs, its byproducts release energy that can damage sensitive lung tissue and lead to lung cancer. For non-smokers, exposure to elevated radon levels can increase the risk of lung cancer as much as smoking can. For smokers, exposure to radon is an especially serious health risk.
How is radon measured?
Radon levels are measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). No level of radon is considered absolutely safe. However, the average indoor level is 1.3 pCi/L. The ALA and the EPA recommend that action be taken when indoor levels are above 4 picocuries per liter.
What can you do?
Did you recently conduct a self-test kit from the Cerro Gordo County Health Department? If you have any questions on the self-test kit process, results, or reporting please contact Jenna at 641-421-9339 or the Air-Chek radon kit company/laboratory at 1-800-AIR-CHEK.
There is a large amount of mixed information regarding radon. The Radon Myths handout is designed to clear up the many misconceptions around radon.
For more information, contact Jenna at 641-421-9339 or the Iowa Radon Hotline at 1-800-383-5992.
– Health House (American Lung Association Radon Resources)
– Iowa Department of Public Health Radon Informational YouTube Videos
– Iowa Radon Hotline: 1-800-383-5992
– Reducing the Risk from Radon: Information and Intervention Guide