Radon Gas Is No Joke

December 15, 2015

DID YOU KNOW RADON GAS IS THE 2ND LEADING CAUSE OF LUNG CANCER IN AMERICA?

epa map of radon zones

In fact, it's in your home right now and you breathe it every day. Especially around Kansas City where high levels are common.

It comes from the soil and you'll never know the level is high unless you get it tested. You can’t even predict your level based on your neighborhood because it varies from home to home.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that everyone conduct a radon test in their home – not just when buying. It even offers discounted radon tests kits through Kansas State University.

They also recommend people not live in homes greater than 4 picocuries per liter(pCi/l). Anything higher and you'll want to install a radon mitigation system.

Radon is a tasteless, odorless, colorless gas that forms from the decay of uranium in the earth’s rocks and soil.

In the process, some elements attach to dust particles that stick to our lungs. When these elements decay, they emit bursts of energy that can cause lung cancer. This adds up to 21,000 deaths a year in the U.S., the second highest cause of lung cancer behind smoking.

Canada’s figures are usually about one-tenth the U.S.

how radon gas enters a home

The gas enters your home through cracks and openings in the foundation or even the water, itself. And while drafty upper floors help remove the gas, finished basements are a problem.

We can usually ignore radon gas since it occurs in such low concentrations. But, when the gas enters a well sealed modern home levels can rise to dangerous levels. And this can happen anywhere.

Today, high radon gas is not a scary proposition for Kansas City home buyers like it was 10 years ago. It's so common that a high reading won't even affect the market value of your home.

A lot of the credit can go to easy and inexpensive testing. The test takes about 48 hours and costs around $150. And most mitigation systems cost $500 - $2,500.

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Steve Rodriguez

Steve is a Certified Master Inspector® and owner of Bulldog Professional Inspection Services in Kansas City, Missouri. He is the author of The Ultimate Consumer Guide To Home Inspections and has been a professional home inspector since 2003.

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