January is National Radon Action Month; prepare to test your home

January is National Radon Action Month; prepare to test your home

Soil in central OH can have high levels of radon gas, and it can seep into homes.

Radon is an odorless and colorless gas that, if accumulated at high levels, can be unsafe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates 21,000 Americans die each year from radon-caused lung cancer, killing more people than secondhand smoke, drunk driving, house fires and unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning combined.

One can't see, smell, or taste radon, but it could be present at a unsafe level in a home.

Alpha radon particles are the result of long-term decay from shale and granite in our soils that makes their way into our homes.

"Anywhere, you can get radon", McNeill said.

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"You can't see or smell radon, so testing is the only way to know how high the radon levels are in your home", said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, FACOG. If your results show a radon level meeting or exceeding the 4 pCi/l EPA action limit, the Kendall County Health Department may be able to provide some low-priced starting points for reducing if not eliminating your risk. The EPA and the USA surgeon general urge all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes, schools and other buildings for radon.

Radon levels in the outdoors are usually harmless; however, radon can build up indoors to unsafe levels.

According to the University of Toledo's Ohio Radon Information System, 11,259 Greene County homes have been tested for radon.

The good news is test kits are pretty cheap at $10. Logan County has an average radon level of 4.4 pCi/L. Twenty-nine percent of homes tested were above the 4 picoCuries per liter of air threshold. Then, seal the kit and mail it to the certified laboratory for analysis. Most often, a radon mitigation system is installed in the lowest level of homes and ventilated outside above the rooftop to prevent radon gas from entering the house. Confidential results are available online a few days later, or they can be mailed to the homeowner within approximately two weeks. As with many home repairs, the cost of radon mitigation varies. Lincoln County Health Department is always working for a safer and healthier Lincoln County.

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