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Saturday
Mar122011

Is Your Home Protected from Radon Gas?

Stockbyte/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- Radon can pose a potential threat to nearly every home in the U.S., according to HealthDay News.

This odorless, invisible, radioactive gas causes an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths yearly, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Radon is a byproduct of broken-down uranium in rocks, soil and water.  It becomes a risk to American households because it seeps into the foundation cracks of homes from the ground.

"It's a naturally occurring decay product of uranium," Dr. Michael Thun of the American Cancer Society told HealthDay.

But Dr. Thun added that the carcinogen is avoidable.  Thun said the best method for protection is to check for high levels present in the home.

"If one lives in an area where radon is prevalent, it's a good idea to have your home tested," he said.

The EPA suggests a two-level test.  Homeowners can purchase a short-term test that is left in the house for 90 days and sent to a lab for analysis.  Next, homeowners can perform a follow-up test, which is longer than 90 days.  Homeowners should have the home fixed if the average of the two tests remains above 4 pCi/L.

The testing process, called radio mitigation, can cost between $800 and $2,500, according to Kristy Miller, a spokeswoman for the EPA's indoor environments division.

Dr. Thun warned that individuals and families residing in the Northeast and Midwest are at greater risks. These regions tend to have higher radon levels than anywhere else in the United States.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

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