January is Radon Action Month

by Connie Neal, Housing and Environmental Design Specialist - University of Missouri Extension

January is National Radon Action Month.  Most Americans acknowledge having heard about radon, however, many people don’t know that radon is a naturally occurring, odorless and colorless radioactive gas that comes from the decay of uranium, which is found in the soil and water.  This radioactive gas can build up to dangerous levels inside the home.  For most Americans, the greatest exposure to radon is in their homes, whether those homes are old or new.  Any home, any type, any location can have a radon problem.  If your home has not been tested, now is a good time to take the test.  This will help protect your family’s health and it’s easy to do.   The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend that all homes in the U.S. be tested for radon. 

The EPA recommends homes be fixed if the radon level is 4 picocuries per liter of air (4pCi/L) or more – a level 10 times higher than the average out-door level, or, 4 pCi/L or less.  While testing can be easy and inexpensive, millions of Americans have yet to take this important step to protect their family.  The indoor air quality of your home can affect your family’s health.  You can test your home yourself or hire a qualified radon measurement professional.

 If you are building a new home, make sure to ask your builder about radon-resistant features.  Radon-venting features are easy to install at the time of construction and will help make your home greener and healthier at the same time.  Through its Living Healthy and Green campaign, the EPA encourages homeowners and builders to build healthier homes from the ground up. 

 Featured below is the Map of Radon Zones for Missouri from the EPA website http://www.epa.gov/radon/zonemap.html as well as what the colors mean.

 Map of Radon Zones – Missouri

 

What do the colors mean?

Zone 1 counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level greater than 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) (red zones)

Highest Potential

Zone 2 counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level between 2 and 4 pCi/L (orange zones)

Moderate Potential

Zone 3 counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level less than 2 pCi/L (yellow zones)

Low Potential

To learn more call your local University of Missouri Extension office, the National Radon Information Line at (800) SOS-RADON or visit www.epa.gov/radon.  There are two types of radon test kits, short-term test kits (3-4) days and long-term test kits (3-12 months).  Short-term test kits can be purchased at the Nodaway County Extension office at 403 N. Market, Maryville, MO or call 660-582-8101 for further information. These kits include all costs.  Just follow the instructions on the package and return the kit to the manufacturer for analysis at no extra charge.  Consumers can also check their local hardware or home improvement stores to purchase kits or call the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for a free device at (866)-628-9891.