January is National Radon Action Month
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated January as National Radon Action Month. During the observance, it is the agency’s goal for people throughout the country to recognize that radon is a health hazard with a simple solution. People should use January as the time to “Test, Fix, Save a Life.”
You can’t see, smell, or taste radon, but it could be present at a dangerous level in your home. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America, and claims the lives of about 21,000 Americans each year. In fact, EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General urge all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes, schools, and other buildings for radon.
Exposure to radon is a preventable health risk, and testing radon levels in your home can help prevent unnecessary exposure. If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to fix the problem to protect yourself and your family.
Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon can be found all over the U.S. It can get into any type of building – homes, offices, and schools – and result in a high indoor radon levels. But you and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure at home, where you spend most of your time.
You should test for radon. Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. EPA also recommends testing in schools. Testing is inexpensive and easy – it should only take a few minutes of your time. Millions of Americans have already tested their homes for radon.
You can fix a radon problem. Radon reduction systems work and they are not too costly. Some radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99 percent. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.
New homes can be built with radon-resistant features. Radon-resistant construction techniques can be effective in preventing radon entry. When installed properly and completely, these simple and inexpensive techniques can help reduce indoor radon levels in homes. Every new home should be tested after occupancy, even if it was built radon-resistant.
The EPA offers a great deal of information on their radon page: http://www.epa.gov/radon
For information about radon programs, visit the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services website: http://health.mo.gov/living/environment/radon/