Did you know radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America? And Iowa has the highest percentage of homes above 4 pCi/L* in the nation. The average indoor radon level in Iowa is 8.5 pCi/L. That’s more than six times the national average of 1.4 pCi/L. Don’t assume because your neighbor’s house tested low that you’re free from risk. Radon levels can vary from area to area and can vary considerably from house to house, even on the same street and neighborhood. A high and lowlevel of radon can be found in homes directly next to each other. Radon is an odorless and invisible gas that is radioactive and harmful to humans when inhaled. It occurs naturally in the soil, and is produced by the radioactive breakdown or decay of uranium and radium. Some states and measurement specialists recommend you get your home tested every 2 to 5 years because the radon levels in the soil do change.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated January as National Radon Action Month. You can order a test kit from Linn County Public Health or you can buy a kit from a home improvement store. Costs for kits are between $8 and $20. Or for the most accurate measurement you can hire a professional. You can find a list of licensed radon measurement specialists by going online to http://www.idph.iowa.gov/radon/test and searching the list of Iowa radon measurement specialists by county, or check out my home services page for radon specialists and other home services vendors.
The IDPH, the Environmental Protection Agency, the American Lung Association, and the
Surgeon General recommend radon testing all new and existing homes for radon in Iowa before they are sold or before they are transferred to a different owner. People often assume they do not have radon in their home. A seller told me, “I know we don’t have radon. My wife works in the basement all the time. I wouldn’t let her if we had a problem with radon.” Sure enough, when my buyers tested, the home had a high level of radon.
Not everyone believes that radon is a risk to their health. However, most buyers are going to test and ask for correction if levels are above the EPA recommendation. Why not test while you live in your home and have the added comfort in knowing you’re doing what you can to protect your family from the possible risk? If you do determine that elevated levels of radon exist in your home you should hire a Licensed or credentialed radon mitigation contractor who can install a radon mitigation system that provides a permanent solution. This is just another step toward a healthy home!
*The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a recommended radon action level of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). They recommend that all Iowa homes be tested for radon and homes over 4 pCi/L be fixed.