January is National Radon Action Month, and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is urging homeowners to test their homes for radon.
“You can’t see or smell radon, so testing is the only way to know how high the radon levels are in your home,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, FACOG. “By testing, you can take immediate action to reduce your home’s radon level if necessary and help protect your family’s health.”
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in most soil and can cause lung cancer. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer and the number-one cause among non-smokers, responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates.
It enters homes and other buildings through small cracks and holes in the foundation, where it becomes trapped and accumulates in the air. When people breathe in radon, it damages the lungs. Long-term exposure can eventually cause lung cancer.
Because radon has no taste, smell or color, a home must be tested to find out how much radon is in the air. There is no safe level for radon, but the EPA and U.S. Surgeon General recommend fixing homes that have levels at or above 4pCi/L (picocurie per liter).
Testing radon levels in your home can help prevent exposure, and it’s simple and inexpensive. A radon testing kit can be purchased at most home or hardware stores. If high levels of radon are detected, licensed contractors can install mitigation systems to eliminate the problem and protect you and your family.
To learn more about radon, visit the ISDH’s radon page at http://www.in.gov/isdh/24346.