Free radon test kits offered in January, February
Have you tested your home or business for radon? Have you even heard of radon?
If you said yes, awesome! We’re glad you’ve taken those steps and hope you’ll share with others the importance of testing for radon. If you answered no, read on.
Let’s start with a quick overview of what radon is and why we’re talking about it here, on a cancer blog.
Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless and colorless gas that results from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rock. As the gas is formed, it works its way through the soil and rock to move into the atmosphere where it disperses in outdoor air.
In this process, radon can enter buildings through their foundations and become trapped inside. The accumulation of this gas can create health problems for occupants—people living, working or attending school in the buildings. Why? Because it’s a Group A carcinogen, which means it is known to cause cancer in humans—lung cancer specifically.
The Nevada Radon Education Program notes that more than 20,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer each year, making it the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.
Our ask of health care providers
Before we get to the details about radon testing and mitigation, we're throwing in an ask for our partners. If you don't already, plan to ask your patients and clients if they've tested their home or business for radon. Here are some other things you can do to add radon awareness into your practice:
- Request brochures from the Nevada Radon Education Program to place in your waiting room.
- Include information about radon and testing in your patient/client newsletters or emails.
- Add a radon testing question to your patient intake forms and EHRs, and be sure to discuss it with your other prevention-focused talking points.
- Test your office for radon and encourage all employees to test their homes.
Testing for radon is a relatively simple process. During January and February, it’s even free. January is National Radon Action Month, a time when our state radon program offers free short-term tests for homeowners.
The short-term tests take 2-4 days to complete. You simply follow the instructions on the kit, place the kit in a regularly used area of your home for the test, then package it up and send it in for analysis.
Short term results that show radon concentration levels below 4 picocuries per liter of air (4 pCi/L) indicate concentrations are at or below acceptable levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency.
For results between 4-8 pCi/L, the EPA recommends conducting a long-term test to confirm results. Such tests take anywhere from 3 months to a year and offer the most definitive measure of radon level.
For results over 8 pCi/L, it’s recommended to re-test using a second short-term kit to confirm the results and averaging the two results together.
What to do if your radon levels are over 4 pCi/L
Elevated radon levels can be scary, but they can also be fairly simple to fix. Radon mitigation contractors can install systems in your home to help vent radon into the atmosphere. If you have to wait a while for an appointment, you can reduce your exposure right away by opening windows and ensuring crawl space vents are open. This will help the radon to disperse into the atmosphere and away from your home.
For more information and a free test, visit https://extension.unr.edu/radon/default.aspx