When it comes to environmental toxins, we hear a lot about secondhand cigarette smoke, carbon monoxide, lead - even mercury in our seafood. But what about radon? Sheridan Media's Chris Foy has more.
Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas. But it also causes cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and it's estimated to cause thousands of lung cancer-related deaths each year in the United States. The worst part is, radon is commonly found in soil. That's why the Wyoming Department of Health has dubbed January "National Radon Action Month."
The EPA's Citizen's Guide to the radioactive gas says that it enters the home through the natural decay of uranium that's found in nearly all soils. The carcinogenic compound typically moves up through the ground to the air above - and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. The EPA says in both new and older homes, radon gets trapped inside where it can build up.
The Wyoming Department of Health says the only way to know how much potentially dangerous radon gas is present in home or workplace is to test for it. Radon Program Manager, Steve Melia with the state department says testing for radon is inexpensive. Qualified contractors can fix the problem if elevated radon levels are found. He says the costs are not overwhelming and are comparable to many common home repairs.
But the risks of not fixing a radon problem can be potentially life-threatening. Melia says exposure to radon has been linked to lung cancer in many people and can be thought of as a bit like a ticking time bomb.
To read the EPA's guide on how to test for the radioactive gas, visit http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/ci....