Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January is National Radon Action Month

This is an effort by the Environmental Protection Agency to prevent 20,000 cancer deaths in the U.S. each year—the second leading cause of lung cancer, responsible for 15% of deaths. The EPA estimates that over 8 million U.S. homes have dangerous levels of radon gas.

Radon, the "silent killer", causes more in-home deaths than fires, carbon monoxide, drowning, poisoning, falls, or guns.

Catherine Martin of Air Quality Control Agency, a company that installs mitigation systems, says radon is an odorless gas that forms when uranium in the soil decomposes and then seeks the air. If it exists under and around a home, only a mitigation system can keep it from coming inside.

Inexpensive kits are available to test for radon--based on international studies, the World Health Organization has just lowered so-called “acceptable” levels of radon from 4 to 2.7 picocuries.

Martin says a mitigation system will pull radon through a pipe to the outside, where oxygen dissolves the gas. She says systems she’s quoted in Pittsburgh range from about $695 to $895.

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