January is National Radon Action Month, marking a time of increased outreach and public awareness for this serious health hazard.
What’s Radon & Why Should I Care?
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally through the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. It can seep into homes through cracks in basements and foundations, then build up inside to concentrations many times the recommended level. It’s also the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States after smoking.
That’s why the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is working with home builders, school districts, realtors, and other state departments to address radon issues.
The Keystone State is particularly prone to elevated radon levels, and the only way homeowners can know for sure if they have a radon problem is to test their home.
DEP recommends that all homes and public and private buildings get tested.
The department notes that the best time to test is during the colder months when homes and buildings are closed and radon is most likely to be trapped and building up to higher levels.
How Can I Test Radon Levels in My Home?
Fortunately, the DEP and our friends at the American Lung Association are working to provide radon test kits to Pennsylvania residents who have not yet tested their homes for this dangerous gas.
These free radon test kits are available throughout the Commonwealth from the American Lung Association (while supplies last).
By way of background: Radon test kits are also available for about $20 to $30 at many home improvement and hardware stores, as well as from Pennsylvania-certified radon laboratories.
Here’s how they work: Completed test kits are forwarded to a Pennsylvania-certified lab where the sample is analyzed, and the results are provided to the home or building owner.
Depending on the results, a permanent radon mitigation system may be needed. Those typically cost between $800 and $1,200 and require minimal maintenance.
Is Radon the Only Indoor Air Quality Issue I Should Be Concerned About?
Unfortunately, no, not by a long shot. There’s also asbestos, methane and other indoor air contaminants that impact your health and wellbeing.
We encourage fellow breathers to attend GASP’s FREE upcoming Making the Connection virtual presentation on understanding common in-home environmental hazards.
You'll gain valuable insights into identifying and minimizing environmental hazards in your home.
Our expert speakers will cover topics such as indoor air quality and exposure to asbestos, lead, and radon. You'll learn practical tips and strategies to create a safer and healthier living environment for you and your loved ones. We'll focus on issues relevant in our region.
Don't miss this opportunity to enhance your knowledge and take proactive steps toward a safer home - you can register here. Our panelists include:
Editor’s Note: We also encourage folks concerned about their indoor air quality to check out our friends at ROCIS. The group has a FREE low-cost monitoring project starting soon. Check it out and sign up here.