January is designated National Radon Action Month by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Radon is an inert, colorless, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally during the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. It can enter a house through cracks in the foundation or in well water. It doesn’t matter if your house is built on a slab or a basement; radon works its way into your house and becomes trapped, degrading your home’s air quality. Radon has serious health risks. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and causes approximately 21,000 deaths per year. It is critical that homeowners and renters educate themselves about radon.
Two useful sources of information:
- The EPA has a great website that will give you the tools you need to mitigate your exposure. It is chock-full of information for consumers including the very useful A Citizens Guide to Radon.
- The Kansas Radon Program, a joint effort between Kansas State University and The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, is an excellent source for locating certified contractors in radon mitigation. They have a toll free hotline for anyone needing assistance with radon issues. The toll free number is 1-800-693-5343.
If you are interested in obtaining more information or an inexpensive test kit to measure radon levels in your home, contact your local county extension department. In Shawnee County, the extension office is located at 1740 SW Western Ave. Their telephone number is 785-232-0062.
While testing for radon, you may find cracks in your foundation that need to be repaired. The Home Neighborhood has books that will help you repair the cracks to keep not only the radon, but moisture from seeping into your house. 5 Steps to a Dry Basement or Crawl Space: A Guide for Homeowner and Professional by Ron Gay is a good place to start your basement repairs. The Home Neighborhood is a great place to start all your home repair projects.