ADPH advises radon testing
By J.R. TIDWELL / Editor
Winter is the best time of the year to protect yourself and your loved ones from exposure to radon, said the Alabama Department of Public Health in a release.
According to the ADPH, radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.
“The Environmental Protection Agency estimates radon causes 21,000 deaths in the U.S. a year,” David Turberville, director of the Office of Radiation Control, Alabama Department of Public Health, said. “The best time to test for radon is during the colder months, when your home is closed and radon levels are likely to build to their highest concentrations. This is the time of year to test your home for cancer-causing radon gas, and we encourage you to test your home.”
High levels of radon have been found indoors in several areas across the state, though it appears to most common in homes in the Tennessee Valley in northern Alabama and the Appalachian Mountain foothills in Jefferson and Shelby counties through Cleburne County.
“Because radon is a colorless, odorless gas that occurs naturally in soil and rocks through the breakdown of uranium, testing is the only way to know the radon level in a home,” said the ADPH.
“Radon test kits weigh only a few ounces and cost about $25. Testing for radon should be done on the lowest level of the home on which the occupants spend time, so a finished basement or a basement containing a workshop is a good place to test. Kitchens are not recommended testing areas.”
“Testing directions are on the kit, and it only takes a few days to obtain a sample,” Turberville said. “It is easy to perform a radon test on your home.”
While radon test kits are available at many larger home improvement stores, Alabama homeowners can order kits online through the National Radon Program Services at sosradon.org.
If test results show radon levels above what is recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency and ADPH, homeowners are urged to install a radon remediation system.
These usually cost between $1,500-$2,500 depending on the size of the home.
For more information on radon, radon testing and protection from the gas, visit alabamapublichealth.gov/radon.