Many people around the country have not even heard of Radon. It might sound like the latest villain in the Marvel Universe, but it is a very real problem that people all around the country need to become familiar with.
Radon is a naturally occurring chemical element with the symbol “Rn” on the periodic table. It is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and can emanate from underneath your home without you even knowing it. Testing for radon is the only way you will know if it is present.
More than something that might simply be annoying, radon can be deadly. The Surgeon General’s Office, along with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, has reported that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths in the nation. According to the US EPA, radon is responsible for as many as 20,000 deaths every year. Scientists estimate that if radon levels were lowered in homes that have levels above the EPA standard, that number of deaths could be reduced by about 5,000.
Radon testing is not a difficult thing to do. You can buy a basic residential radon testing kit at a local big box store for a relatively inexpensive cost. However, if there is an indication that you might have radon in your home, it would be very wise to call in a specialist for local radon mitigation and abatement.
Many of the homes that test positive for radon can have it brought down below the EPA’s established level of 4 pCi/L with ventilation and other passive systems of mitigation. If testing for radon concludes that the levels present are above 4 pCi/L, mitigation is necessary, no matter what.
Consider this. If a home has a level of radon at 4 pCi/L, according to the EPA, action needs to be taken. At that level, a family is being exposed to approximately 35 times the amount of radiation the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would allow if that family were hanging out next to the fence of a site that contained radioactive waste.
Testing for radon is the only way to know if it is present in your home. There is nothing in the way of immediate symptoms to alert you to the fact that it is present. Problems will only show themselves after years of exposure.
Since every home is different, it is not enough to know that your neighbors do not have radon in their home. Take a day and do the preliminary test for yourself. If the test comes back showing levels that are problematic, find a mitigation and abatement company that can restore your home to acceptable radon levels.
As the second leading cause of lung cancer, radon is not something with which to trifle.