XENIA — January is National Radon Action Month, when Ohio residents are urged to test their homes for radon.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Soil in central Ohio can have high levels of radon gas, and it can seep into homes. To help protect residents, the Greene County Public Health offers homeowners free test kits. These easy-to-use home test kits are available at via www.uchd.net/radon.
“Winter is the best time to get a test kit,” said Jeff Webb, environmental health director at Greene County Public Health. “During these colder months, our homes are closed up, trapping gases inside and providing more accurate radon readings.”
Radon results from the decay of uranium found in nearly all soils. Radon cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, making testing the only way to determine if it is in your home. Radon can leak into homes through cracks in foundations, openings around sump pumps and drains, construction joints, and cracks in walls.
It is estimated that nearly one home in every 15 in the U.S. has an elevated radon level. Elevated levels have been found in all areas of the country, especially central Ohio. Radon is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L) and the EPA has identified 4 pCi/L as a recommended action level.
“Greene County has been designated as a zone one area on the EPA’s radon map,” Webb said. “This means the EPA predicts that homes within our area could have high radon levels. Therefore it is important all homeowners in our area test for radon gas.”
According to the University of Toledo’s Ohio Radon Information System, 11,259 Greene County homes have been tested for radon. The maximum reading for Greene County was 590 pCi/L, the minimum Greene County reading was 0.1 pCi/L, with an average reading of 7.14 pCi/L.
If your home registers high levels of radon, it can be removed from your home through a variety of mitigation systems. According to the EPA, mitigation systems can cost between $800 and $2,500 with an average cost of $1,200. More information on radon mitigation can be found at www.epa.gov/radon by clicking on the “Publications and Resources link” and viewing the EPA publication Consumer’s Guide to Radon.
To get a free test kit, homeowners can log onto www.uchd.net/radon. After completing a short online form, a free test kit will be mailed within a few weeks.
Radon test kits are easy to use. Place the small, non-obtrusive test kit in the lowest living level of the home for three to seven days. Then, seal the kit and mail it to the certified laboratory for analysis. Confidential results are available online a few days later, or they can be mailed to the homeowner within approximately two weeks.
For more information, visit www.uchd.net/radon or www.epa.gov/radon.
Story courtesy Greene County Public Health.