by Ryan Renner
on Thursday, January 21st, 2021 at 4:15pm.
Radon gas is a topic that almost always comes up when buying or selling a home. Most people don’t know much about it, but know that they have to deal with it when they sell their home.
While dealing with a radon problem is necessary when selling, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Surgeon General urge all American s to protect their health by testing their homes, schools and other buildings for radon even if they aren’t selling. In honor of the EPA’s “National Radon Action Month” I thought I would give you some of the facts about radon.
You can't see, smell or taste radon, but it could present a dangerous level in your home. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America and claims the lives of about 20,000 Americans each year. Exposure to radon is a preventable health risk, and testing radon levels in your home can help prevent unnecessary exposure. If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to fix the problem to protect yourself and your family.
The United Nation's World Health Organization (WHO) says that radon is a worldwide health risk in homes. Dr. Maria Neira of WHO said that "Most radon-induced lung cancers occur from low and medium dose exposures in people's homes. Radon is the second most important cause of lung cancer after smoking in many countries."
Nebraska and Iowa have very high incidences of radon in homes; over half of homes that test in these states have levels above the action level of 4.0 pCi/L. Radon testing must be performed by a state-licensed individual working for a state-licensed company. Once it has been determined that radon levels in a home are above the recommended levels, a mitigation system is designed specifically for each home. With input from the homeowner, a mitigation system is designed and installed to effectively reduce radon in the home to a safe level. The good thing is, reducing radon levels is not all that difficult and relatively inexpensive.
Some components of the mitigation system are governed by state regulations, but there are still choices for the homeowner to consider. Most of these choices have to do with the cosmetics of the system. For example, you may choose to have the fan installed in the attic so that it is not visible. You may also choose to have a cover installed to improve the way the system looks if it is installed outside.
Regardless of whether you are considering selling or purchasing a home, or if you are perfectly happy where you are, getting your home tested for radon is a smart thing to do.