January has been named National Radon Action Month by the EPA. If you are purchasing a home, or if you already own one, you should have it tested for high levels of radon in the air. If there is an unsafe amount of radon in your home (4 pCi/L or higher), you could be at risk for cancer.
This article explains why it is important to know the levels of radon in your home.
What Is Radon?
Radon is a gas that is released from the decay of uranium in the rocks and in the soil. Radon gas is tasteless, odorless, and invisible. The gas seeps up from the ground and spreads. It can infiltrate your home and become trapped, building to unsafe levels of radon.
How Do High Levels of Radon Form In Your Home?
Radon is naturally in the air at low, harmless levels. It is only when levels become elevated that there is a risk. Radon gets into your home from cracks in the foundation, walls, and floors. It can also come through water from a well. Radon levels will naturally be higher in basements and on the first floor since it comes from the ground.
How Does Radon Cause Cancer?
Radon releases radioactive particles. These tiny particles settle into your lungs when breathed in. Over time, this causes damage to the cells of your lungs. If you breathe elevated levels of radon for a long time, your risk of lung cancer is higher. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Testing Your Home For Radon
Have your home tested for radon before you move in. There are many different factors that can affect radon testing. If you were told that the neighbor’s home tested for low levels of radon, that does not mean that your home is safe from this dangerous gas.
It is always a good idea to have your home tested for high levels of radon by a professional instead of doing it yourself. A professional is trained to get an accurate reading of the levels and can provide recommendations on how to manage high levels of radon.
If you find that you do have elevated levels of radon in your home, it is important that you get it mitigated immediately. There are companies out there that can get the radon gas out of your home and prevent it from building up in your home in the future.
If you’re considering buying a home that tested high for radon, this does not mean that you should not purchase the house. Consult with a radon mitigation specialist and figure out what you can do to treat your new home. You may even be able to negotiate with the seller and have them pay for this before closing on the home.