Washington, DC —Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Radon is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water. Radon is a form of ionizing radiation and a proven carcinogen. That’s why January has been declared National Radon Action Month!
Cancer is scary and is often related to either smoking or Radon. During the month of January, EPA and health officials want you to make sure your home is free of radon, which is one of the leading causes of certain cancers. As a result of this the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated January as National Radon Action Month. EPA estimates that about 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon-related.
Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Radon is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water. Radon is a form of ionizing radiation and a proven carcinogen. Lung cancer is the only known effect on human health from exposure to radon in air. Thus far, there is no evidence that children are at greater risk of lung cancer than are adults.
Radon in air is ubiquitous. Radon is found in outdoor air and in the indoor air of buildings of all kinds. EPA recommends homes be fixed if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or more. Because there is no known safe level of exposure to radon, EPA also recommends that Americans consider fixing their home for radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. The average radon concentration in the indoor air of America’s homes is about 1.3 pCi/L. It is upon this level that EPA based its estimate of 20,000 radon-related lung cancers a year upon. It is for this simple reason that EPA recommends that Americans consider fixing their homes when the radon level is between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. The average concentration of radon in outdoor air is .4 pCi/L or 1/10th of EPA’s 4 pCi/L action level.
The radon health risk is underscored by the fact that in 1988 Congress added Title III on Indoor Radon Abatement to the Toxic Substances Control Act. It codified and funded EPA’s then fledgling radon program. Also that year, the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General issued a warning about radon urging Americans to test their homes and to reduce the radon level when necessary (U.S. Surgeon General).
Unfortunately, many Americans presume that because the action level is 4 pCi/L, a radon level of less than 4 pCi/L is “safe”. This perception is altogether too common in the residential real estate market. In managing any risk, we should be concerned with the greatest risk. For most Americans, their greatest exposure to radon is in their homes; especially in rooms that are below grade (e.g., basements), rooms that are in contact with the ground and those rooms immediately above them.
Information obtained from EPA’s web site: http://www.epa.gov/radon/aboutus.html
A quick and inexpensive way to test for Radon in your home or office is with the DIY Radon Screen Check available at Grainger, Sears, www.INDOORAIRTEST.com and many other fine retailers. Building Health Check manufactures of the popular do-it-yourself (DIY) IAQ Screen product line.
Building Health Check, LLC is an indoor environmental consulting firm and franchisor with expertise in industrial hygiene, microbiology, public health, building science, and mechanical engineering. The firm performs IAQ evaluations as well as supplies an array of do-it-yourself (DIY) IAQ Screen Check kits ranging from Mold, Allergen, Dust Mites, and Fiberglass. Also available is a 10 minute in the field Micro Check. You can order on line at: www.indoorairtest.com or at many quality HVAC supply distributors.
In addition, through its affiliate companies at Pure Air Control Services, Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) and Building Remediation Services (BRS) provides indoor environmental sample analysis and remediation services (Mold Mitigation and HVAC systems hygiene/duct cleaning). Through the years, BRS has serviced over 500 million square feet of indoor environments at over 10,000 buildings and homes. Over the past 15 years, EDLab (AIHA EMLAP 102795) has analyzed over 100,000 samples. In addition, the professional staff has served as expert witnesses in over 100 mold/IEQ-related cases.