You can't see it, smell it or taste it but it could be impacting your health every day. Radon is a poisonous gas that gets into your home through the foundation and is virtually undetectable to humans. Radon gas exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths of non-smokers, killing more than 21,000 Americans each year. Even if you live in a zone of lower radon impact, you never know if you have radon in your home without testing. And even low amounts of radon cause big health problems over time. Here are some things you should do this month, right now, to make sure you and your family are safe from the dangers of radon.
1. Test! Test your home, test your office, ask your child's school for their recent test results and test any other living space you and your family spend a lot of time in. In South Carolina, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) provides free test kits to state residents. Visit www.scdhec.gov/Apps/Environment/Radon/ to request your free testing kit. Many other states offer free test kits as well.
2. Speak up! Learn about and share with your friends and neighbors about the health risks of radon. Even homes in low risk zones can have significant radon poisoning. Low risk does not mean no risk! Learn more about radon on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website at www.epa.gov/radon/health-risk-radon
3. Resist radon! How? Buy a radon-resistant home. More and more builders are becoming certified to build radon-resistant homes. These builders learn about the materials, technology and techniques required to build homes that reduce or eliminate radon exposure. The EPA maintains a list of certified builders as do most states.
4. Mitigate risk! If your test kit reveals a radon problem in your home, mitigate your risk right away! The more time you are exposed to radon in your home, the more damage to the health of you and your family. The EPA and most states maintain a list of approved radon mitigation providers. Don't delay - call them right away if you have a radon problem!
January is the time of year when many people think about health and wellness goals for the coming year. Make sure to add testing for radon to your list. It could be the most important thing you do to protect your health all year!