Do you know much about radon? If not, that’s OK. There are plenty of people like you in the Coronado area and elsewhere who really aren’t that familiar with this naturally-occurring but potentially dangerous gas. But if you’re interested in home health care now or in the future, it’s good to learn more to see if radon might be present in your environment.
The team at Accredited Home Care has made sure to learn much about radon and how and where it can sometimes be found. While we’re not building inspectors and few of us have technical backgrounds we still are happy to help connect our clients to local resources so they can get their homes tested and perhaps have them be modified if needed to reduce their risk of exposure plus possible health problems.
This time of year is a perfect opportunity to learn more since January is officially National Radon Action Month. The campaign has already started but there’s still plenty to learn all year long from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Radon Safety Board, and other public and private organizations.
Though these groups all have are different missions, their shared goals are generally education, prevention, and making sure people have access to the tools they need, what to watch for and what steps to take if or when radon is detected.
Before you start wondering what you should be concerned about, it helps to learn more about radon.
According to the EPA, it’s a naturally occurring gas that is caused by the decay of uranium particles. It’s naturally found in many types of soils all through the country.
Radon itself can’t be tasted or smelled. Pockets of it are sometimes found in the ground where it rises upward to evaporate naturally in the air without causing any harm. But when homes, commercial buildings or schools are built over the patches of radon, the gas isn’t able to escape easily.
This sometimes leads radon gas to build up to dangerous levels. It may rise from the crawlspace or foundation into the basement and into living areas and bedrooms.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer – smoking is the first — after smoking, and is responsible for the deaths of about 21,000 people per year across the U.S.
Smokers or those with existing lung problems are especially susceptible to problems from radon, but many non-smokers who have been exposed to radon also may develop lung cancer.
Seniors also may be more susceptible to exposure since they often don’t go outside much so they’re more likely to be inside where the gasses may be settling.
Getting rid of radon
Detecting it is not hard, provided you have the correct tools.
For instance, the EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General’s office recommend radon test kits. These can be found at most hardware or home improvement stores and also could be purchased and ordered online for free or a discounted price through the EPA’s website.
Radon sensors are also available which can be distributed through your house, especially basement and crawl space areas where radon is likely to appear first. Like smoke or carbon dioxide detectors, they can sense the presence of this gas.
The only challenges with both of these home testing sources are that they may not tell you how much is present and what to do about it or how to get rid of it.
That’s why California residents are also encouraged to call for the services of a home inspector with radon experience, especially someone who has received certification or a license as an official radon measurement and mitigation specialist.
Several state environmental health agencies provide this certification as well as national organizations such as the National Radon Proficiency Program or the Nation Radon Safety Board.
To have the title, he or she has proven that they have the knowledge and experience to detect and remove radon and keep it from being a threat in the future.
Sometimes modifications or renovations can include adding or changing ventilation so, even if radon naturally continues to occur in the foundation of a home or building, it can be dispersed outside before it enters living areas.
Your community likely has other radon resources especially if it’s an area where there have been high levels of reports or radon-related cancers.
Start your research by visiting or contacting a local public health agency that may have brochures or contact information for radon mitigation professionals in your region.
Perhaps your neighbors may have some insight. Though not many people talk about radon, someone may share if they have detectors installed or have worked with a mitigation specialist or tried to deal with radon in the past. They may be able to recommend a certain specialist or give you an estimate on how much medications or renovations cost.