National Radon Action Month
January is National Radon Action Month. Many are not aware of what radon is and what a danger it can pose. Radon(Rn) is the #2 cause of cancer (after smoking) and kills more than 21,000 Americans every year according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Radon is a radioactive gas which is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Unlike other gases like methane or propane, radon is impossible to detect using human senses alone. You need to use a radon testing kit to monitor the levels within your building.
The EPA has developed a map to demonstrate the potential risk for radon exposure. While those in Zone 1 have a greater potential for exposure, anyone can be at risk as radon is found in soils throughout the country, including within National Parks.
The greatest risk of radon exposure arises in structures (i.e., homes, hotels, restaurants, and office buildings) that are airtight, insufficiently ventilated, and have foundation leaks that allow air from the soil to leak into basements and other lower level rooms. Pressure levels decline the lower you go into a building and negative pressure can pull radon inside. When there is a temperature difference between the inside and outside of a building the negative pressure increases. So, when the temperature drops outside in winter, radon levels typically increase inside. This makes January an ideal time to test your own buildings for radon levels.
Exposure to radon is a preventable health risk and testing radon levels in your building can help prevent unnecessary exposure. If a high radon level is detected in your building, you can take steps to fix the problem to protect yourself and others.
Four Things You Can Do During National Radon Action Month
- Test your buildings. EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend that all homes and work places in the U.S. be tested for radon. Testing is easy and inexpensive. Learn more about testing your buildings, including how to obtain an easy-to-use test kit.
- Attend a National Radon Action Month event in your area. Look for radon events in your community.
- Spread the word. Tell others about the health risk of radon. Encourage them to test their homes and buildings.
- Spend time during National Radon Action Month learning more about radon.