The Environmental Health Division of Richland Public Health wants county residents to take advantage of “National Radon Action Month” and test their homes for the presence of radon gas. FREE radon test kits (one per home) can be picked up at the Environmental Health Department window at Richland Public Health, 555 Lexington Avenue in Mansfield. Please bring your driver’s license with you.
Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the soil. It is odorless, colorless and chemically inactive, a natural product of the disintegration of uranium. Radon usually does not present a health risk outdoors because it is diluted in the open air. Radon can, however, build up to dangerous levels inside a house. One out of every 15 homes is estimated to have high radon levels. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer (after smoking) in the United States, causing more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually.
Joe Harrod, Director of Environmental Health at Richland Public Health, says the home testing kits are the best way for a home owner to find out if he/she has a problem and take steps to control exposure at home if necessary.
“If a reading of 4.0 pico-curies* of radon per liter of air or higher (the EPA suggested action level) is indicated by the initial short term test, we recommend a follow-up with a second test and taking possible corrective measures,” Harrod said. “In most cases, the corrective measures are reasonably inexpensive such as improving air circulation, sealing of cracks in basement floors or walls, and venting of sumps.”
The initial screening test takes 3-7 days to run and results are reported the same day the lab receives the test submission. Harrod notes that the Richland Public Health can provide consultative assistance with interpretation of the results and a follow-up plan if needed.
Additional information on radon is available through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website at www.epa.gov/radon or you can download a Radon brochure (attached PDF) from Richland Public Health.
The US EPA was tasked with setting practical guidelines and recommendations for the nation. To this end, the US EPA set an action level of 4 pCi/L. At or above this level of radon, the EPA recommends you take corrective measures to reduce your exposure to radon gas.
Source: Richland Public Health