It’s an odorless, tasteless, gas that is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. All reasons why you might want to test your home for radon.
Radon claims 21,000 lives in the U.S. each year, Kelly Gallo of the Summit County health department explains what radon is.
“It’s Uranium as it decays and so the gases are just naturally there. It seeps into our homes through cracks and crevices and our foundation. The only way that you’re going to know whether you really do have that in your home is if you test for it.”
January is radon awareness month, Gallo explains why it’s a good time of year to test for radon.
“Our homes are closed up. We don’t have that great ventilation going on that helps to move the air within our homes. If you spend time in your lower areas of your home, you definitely want to be considering testing. Really with levels like one in three homes having it, all of us should be testing.”
Residents of towns with mining heritage, such as Park City and Coalville, might be especially interested in radon testing.
“There’s Uranium throughout the state. The really interesting thing about it is that your neighbor could have low levels and you could have high levels. So yes, Park City does happen to have some higher levels but if you look throughout the state, you’ll find there are other pockets that also have high levels.”
Tests are available at the Summit County Health Department for $10. They’re also available at hardware stores and online at DEQ.Utah.gov. Homes with a reading of four picocuries per liter or higher should be mitigated.
“You can have a mitigator come in. They’ll drill a hole underneath the foundation of your home. They’ll put a pipe up through that. The gases seep into that hole and that pipe will ventilate it out through your house. The pipe goes up above the level of the highest level of your home. They find that will bring your radon levels down considerably very quickly.”
Gallo says the test is good not only for humans but also for pets.
“On a personal level I had often thought, well this really isn’t that big of a deal, we’re not home that often, we don’t live in the bottom floor. Then I heard about pets, who live at home all day long and who are exposed to radon all day long. My dogs are there on that first flor all the time. So, we’re currently testing just to see what we have.”
Gallo suggests residents test their homes yearly.