Friday, January 16, 2015

Every month should be radon action month, not just January.

We don’t give our lungs much thought on a daily basis unless we can’t breathe; however, since we spend the majority of our lives indoors, the quality of the air we breathe is vital to healthy lungs.  We can see some types of pollution like smoke, dust, and soot; but that’s not the case with radioactive radon gas.  The only way to know if radon is present in your environment is to test. 
The World Health Organization uses the reference point of action as 2.7 (pCi/L) picocuries per liter of air; yet, there is no safe level of radon. In 2005 the Surgeon General recommended all homes be tested for radon so preventive action could be taken if the level was high.  Elevated levels of radioactive radon gas are found in every state in our nation and throughout our world.  Radioactive alpha particles are emitted from the decay products of uranium in the ground beneath our structures.  They can seep into our home, school, and workplace through sump pits, floor joints, openings around basement pipes, cracks and openings and even through building materials.

Radon can be present in any type of home:  old, new, basement, no basement, crawl space, and slab on grade, brick, or frame.  Most people are unaware of the presence of radon because it is invisible, odorless, and tasteless; and most people are unaware that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.  Oftentimes people only discover the presence of radon after the diagnosis of lung cancer invades their lives.  EPA estimates that 21,000 lives are taken each year from radon-related lung cancer.

Easy to use test kits can be found on line ( or other locations and at hardware stores.  Due to changes in our structures and the movement of the outer crust of our earth, testing is recommended every two years.  Virtually any home with high levels of radon can be fixed by a trained radon mitigator.  Here are the websites to find professionally trained and certified radon mitigators and testors: or  or find and search your state radon program at because some states (like Illinois) do their own licensing of professionals.  To find out more about radon go to or
We don’t usually act on an issue until it affects us.  Nine years ago my husband, Joe, died with lung cancer; we were living with high levels of radon.  I encourage you to test today; and if the level is high, take action against radon.  I wish someone had told me of the danger of radioactive radon gas exposure; now I devote my life to telling others.