American Lung Association Urges Protection from Radon
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths in the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year are caused by radon. The EPA notes that Pocahontas, Highland and Bath Counties are classified as high risk areas for radon exposure.
In a December 30, 2019 press release, the American Lung Association urges householders, schools and daycare centers to test their buildings to ensure that radon levels, if any, exist at safe levels. The Lung Association says that radon is found at dangerous levels in an estimated 1 in 15 homes nationwide. Your home can have elevated levels of radon even if your neighbor’s home does not. And, it doesn’t matter in what part of the country you live. Radon comes from rock and soil, so it can be found anywhere. It then enters the home or building through cracks in walls, basement floors, foundation and other openings, and can exist at dangerous levels indoors.
The only way to detect dangerous levels of radon in your home is to test the air. Various do-it-yourself test kits are simple to use and inexpensive. In fact, a quick search of the internet shows a number of test kits priced between 10 and 20 dollars. The press release notes that some places offer free kits, although the Lung Association advises schools and daycares to use professional help to do the testing.
And, what if you test your home and find concerning levels of radon? Fixing radon problems in most homes costs between $500 and $1,500, roughly the price of a new television set or computer according to the press release. In other words, avoiding radon-induced lung cancer is a relatively inexpensive proposition.
The press release stresses the importance of radon testing in schools and daycares. According to the press release, the last nationwide survey of radon levels in schools was completed in 1993 and it found that nearly one in five schools had at least one classroom with dangerous levels of radon. Both Virginia and West Virginia have state laws requiring schools to be tested. Although West Virginia’s law requires that schools be retested every five years, Virginia’s law has no such requirement. Further, neither state requires mitigation to take place if dangerous levels of radon are found and neither state requires private schools or daycares to be tested.
This is Mickey Frank Thomas for Allegheny Mountain Radio.