Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women, and for most people, the subject of lung cancer immediately conjures up a particular image: smoking. This automatic association is legitimate, for about 82% of lung cancer deaths are attributable to cigarette smoking. However, there is another killer who strikes in many of our homes: radon.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon exposure is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers in the U.S.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas produced from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil and rock. The gas can accumulate indoors, causing exposure to DNA-damaging radiation.
There are two main ways radon can make its way into your home. The first is through the soil or rock that is under or surrounding your house. As the uranium in the soil releases radon, the radon can seep into your house through cracks in the floors and the walls. Because most houses have limited air circulation, once radon gets in, it stays, leading to elevated levels, most commonly in the basement and lowest levels of the house. The second-way radon enters your home is through your well or groundwater. Then, when you turn on any faucet, it releases the radon into the air.
The EPA estimates that residential radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year worldwide. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t find out they have radon in their home until a family member is diagnosed with lung cancer.
Fortunately, testing a home for radon is relatively simple, and home radon mitigation systems usually cost between $800 and $1,500.???????
As a part of my home inspections business, I offer radon testing to establish whether your home is within the recommended EPA levels of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or lower. Radon testing takes place in the basement and requires that the windows and doors remain closed (as much as possible) for a period of 48 hours. Then I collect the testing equipment and provide clients with a printout of the results and names of reputable contractors for mitigation, if necessary.
If you have not had your home tested for radon and would like to schedule a Standalone Radon inspection, give me a call to discuss your concerns or simply visit my website and schedule your
appointment online. The cost for the test is $175. My contact information is at the top of this article. You can also download a free copy of the EPA’s “Citizen’s Guide to Radon” on my website if you’d like to learn more about this home safety issue.
20+ years of residential experience.