February 14, 2017, posted by Dan Rouse
To protect and save lives, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that everyone have their home tested for radon during the winter months. The Portland/Metro area has some of the highest radon levels of any U.S. city, so the EPA warning is particularly important in our area. According to a Portland State study, one out of every four homes in the Portland area showed excessive levels of radon gas.
Several government agencies and national organizations promote activities that increase awareness of the risks associated with radon in the wintertime. They encourage policies that incorporate radon reduction into standard procedures in the housing, finance and insurance industries.
These agencies and organizations have ramped up their efforts in recent years to drive home the message that radon is a serious health risk in homes, schools and other buildings. Many Americans are unaware of the dangers associated with radon exposure. Every year, radon causes more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and second leading cause of lung cancer in smokers.
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that results from the decay of uranium. It builds up in the soil, rocks and air in the ground. Radon seeps into homes through cracks and openings in basements, ground level floors, and garages.
Winter is the best time to test for radon can build to dangerous levels inside homes during wintertime. As the air outside gets colder, we close our doors and seal our home’s windows and openings. If radon gas is present, it becomes trapped inside. Lack of ventilation worsens the issue as radon accumulates inside our homes.
We can’t detect radon through our physical senses. It is colorless, odorless and tasteless. The only way to detect its presence is through testing.
Testing can prevent radon-induced cancer and death. But, radon testing is voluntary. Many government agencies and national organizations would like to change that. They have tried for years to develop strategies to encourage radon testing and mitigation in all existing homes as well as promote radon-resistant construction of new homes.
In July 2011, the EPA, along with several other federal agencies, released “The Federal Radon Action Plan: Protecting People and Families from Radon.” The FRAP harnesses the federal government’s influence over policies and procedures to advocate for testing in homes, schools and daycare facilities to reduce the risk of radon exposure.
The FRAP cited these barriers to voluntary radon risk reduction actions:
Once people become aware of radon’s dangers, they are anxious to have their home tested. If radon is found, mitigation efforts can rid the home of its presence. The FRAP outlines a ten-year agenda to promote radon mitigation in homes with elevated radon levels and ensure new homes are constructed with radon-reducing features.
Since the FRAP’s release, other national health organizations joined in the movement to increase awareness of radon’s dangers. “The National Radon Action Plan: A Strategy to Save Lives” was released in November 2015 as a result of collaboration among the EPA, the American Lung Association, the Children’s Environmental Health Network and seven other organizations.
The NRAP fosters the visibility of radon as a serious and preventable health issue that requires immediate action. The NRAP promotes actions that:
These efforts coincided with an elevated risk of radon exposure. The NRAP states that “because of housing construction booms and insufficient voluntary radon action, more U.S. homes were at risk in 2010 than had been estimated to be at risk in 1986, when EPA last conducted a nationwide radon risk assessment.”
Healthy Home technicians are certified in radon testing and mitigation. Certified individuals have taken coursework and passed exams to show a high level of understanding of radon’s dangers and skill in the proper measurement and mitigation techniques.
Healthy Home’s certified technicians understand EPA protocols for placing and retrieving radon measurement devices in a residence. They’ve also proven they can properly interpret test results. And our certified radon mitigation professionals have demonstrated abilities to assess mitigation strategies for a successful outcome.
Would you like to learn more about Radon? Visit our main Radon Testing page.