January is a month that begins a new year, but it is also a month that starts National Radon Action Month. National Radon Action Month is dedicated to spreading awareness of what radon is, how it can impact indoor air quality, and the effects it can have on an individual’s health.
“Radon is something to be very cautious about, due to the impact it can have on an individual,” said Dr. Pramod Dwivedi, Linn County Public Health Director. “We strongly encourage individuals to consider testing their homes for radon, as this gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Those who are exposed may have little to no idea they are being exposed to radon.”
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas and can enter a home in many ways, such as cracks in solid floors, construction joints, cracks in walls, gaps in suspended floors, gaps around service pipes, and cavities inside walls, including sump pits that are not hermetically sealed.
In addition to poor indoor air quality, radon’s top health affect is its ability to cause lung cancer in those exposed to the gas, second to cigarette smoking.
The best line of defense in preventing radon exposure in your home is to test for radon. Radon tests are easy to do, inexpensive, and can be done yourself. There are two different types of radon tests: short-term and long-term.
• Short-term test kits are a good tool to give an idea of what the exposure to radon may be. Most people start with a short-term test kit.
• Long-term kits provide you with a better idea of what the long-term exposure to radon may be.
In the event a home tests for high levels of radon, a mitigation system may need to be installed. Homeowners who have flexible spending plans may be able to get the cost of a mitigation system covered. Please contact your health care flexible spending account administrator to review the reimbursement requirements for radon mitigation.
Linn County Public Health is making it easy for individuals by offering a buy one, get one free special on radon test kits. The special is open to the first 100 people and there is a limit of 1 special per customer. To get your test kits, call Linn County Public Health at 319-892-6000 or stop by the office at 1020 6th St. SE Cedar Rapids, IA 52401.