As the holidays approach and the temperatures grow colder, those of us in the indoor air quality community are reminded that January is Radon Action Month. Radon—the radioactive gas which seeps into our homes from the soil—is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, and the leading cause in non-smokers.
Residents of Iowa are at a higher risk from radon exposure than other states—seven out of ten Iowa homes have high radon. The EPA’s radon action level is 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) and recommends mitigation at or above 4.0 pCi/L; however, that could soon be lowered to 2.7 pCi/L per the World Health Organization’s recommendation. Unfortunately for us Iowans, the average indoor radon concentration in Iowa is more than six times the national average because of our rich soils. The same dirt that gives us the best farmland in the world also happens to be high in uranium and radium due to the glacial origins of our soil. Through radioactive decay, uranium transforms into radium and then into radon and its daughter isotopes. Every time one of those high energy atoms breaks apart (decays), a burst of radiation is released. You can imagine the harm that exploding radioactive atoms could do to inside of your lungs. More than 400 people die every year in Iowa alone, and more than 21,000 nationwide, as a result of radon-induced lung cancer.
Testing for radon is easy and affordable, but you can’t know you have a radon problem unless you test. If high radon is found in your home, mitigation options are straight forward and radon mitigation professionals will gladly give you an estimate for your particular situation. Financial assistance for mitigation may even be available in your community. Midwest Indoor Air Quality is an unbiased, independent third party testing company. We have no investment in radon mitigation; therefore, you can trust our test results.
The Iowa Radon Coalition was created in 2010 to ensure that Iowans are “healthy from the ground up.” The Iowa Radon Coalition provides services and information to support the radon control activities occurring within various organizations and radon professionals across the state. As members of the Coalition, we at Midwest Indoor Air Quality work to ensure our partners are invited into the discussion of how to educate people about radon and to address the need for comprehensive radon legislation at both state and federal levels. The coalition has nearly 100 members from across the state participating in radon-related activities. Other prominent members include the Iowa Cancer Consortium, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Iowa Department of Public Health, Lung Cancer Survivors, and University of Iowa College of Public Health and Cancer Centers.
This January, many families will be making resolutions to adopt a healthier lifestyle. There’s no better way to start 2016 off on the right track than to ensure the air you breathe inside your home is safe and healthy. Call Midwest Indoor Air Quality for a professional radon test and protect yourself and your loved ones from harmful radon gas.