January is Radon Awareness month, so please take this opportunity to learn more about radon and how it can affect your health and the health of those around you.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is produced by the decay of uranium in the soil. It can get into our homes due to the pressure differentials between outdoor and indoor environments. Radon enters through any building opening including cracks in walls and floors, construction joints, gaps around pipes/wires and sump pits.
Exposure to radon is the most common cause of lung cancer in non-smoking adults and takes the lives of 400 Iowans each year. To compare, that is roughly the same number of deaths in the state due to traffic fatalities.
Radon exposure can happen in any type of home, new or old. Many households have carbon monoxide detectors, however there is no such thing as a radon detector. The only way to determine if your home has high levels of radon is to test. Testing kits are available through the American Lung Association by calling 1-800-788-5864. Testing kits and processing costs run around $10. It is recommended that all buildings, especially your home, be tested every two years.
Source: American Lung Association's "Radon & You: What you need to know to protect you and your family."