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Radon

 

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?radon5

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.

  • Radon is often more highly concentrated in basements, ground floors and the first floor of homes.
  • Radon problems have been identified in every state, and nationwide tests are being conducted to identify the extent and magnitude of the problem. The US Environmetnal Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that as many as one in 15 homes in the U.S. have elevated radon levels.
  • Homes without basements can have a radon problem. The American Lung Association (ALA) and the EPA recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. Testing in schools is also recommended.
  • ANY HOME IS AT RISK FOR RADON GAS, just as anyone is at risk for developing lung cancer from radon gas exposure.

 

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.radon

 

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?

  1. Test your home for radon. Do-it-yourself test kits are available at our office for $6.00 each. We are located at 22 N. Georgia Ave. Suite 300, Mason City, on the 3rd floor of Mohawk Square. Office hours: 8:00 AM-4:30 PM
  2. Fix your home if radon levels are over 4 pCi/L. Professional contractors must be certified by the Iowa Department of Public Health. Knowledgeable home owners may take corrective action to reduce radon levels in their own homes (EPA pamphlets are available). Radon problems can be fixed by straight forward construction techniques. Click Here! for a complete list of professional contractors in Iowa.


The only way to know the level of radon gas is to test for it!

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.

 

Radon Resources
  – Health House (American Lung Association Radon Resources)
  – Iowa Department of Public Health Radon Informational YouTube Videos
  – Iowa Radon Hotline: 1-800-383-5992

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