January is National Radon Action Month and Kansas State University’s Bruce Snead wants Kansans to do just that – take action. If you’ve not had your home tested recently for radon, the odorless, colorless and tasteless gas linked to lung cancer, now is the time.
Radon is produced by the decay of radioactive elements in the soil. It’s a known environmental hazard in Kansas, can seep through joints or cracks in a home’s foundation (or slab), and is known to be the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and the second leading cause of lung cancer in smokers.
Radon is present in as many as 25 percent of Kansas homes, said Snead, who is the director of engineering extension at Kansas State University.
Most K-State Research and Extension offices http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/about/stateandareamaps.html offer a low-cost ($5 to $10) home test kit which can identify the presence of radon. Radon detectors also are available at discount department, hardware and home stores, usually for $25 or less.
If a home or other structure tests positive, above the recommended ceiling of 4.0 pCiL (Pico Curies per liter) for radon, Snead encourages homeowners to hire a professional for a mitigation system installation.
Radon service providers are required to be certified by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment as a radon measurement and/or mitigation technician or a certified radon laboratory. The certification process is designed to ensure that a home or building owner is employing trained professionals capable of measuring and mitigating a health risk, Snead said.
Currently, KDHE has 237 certified measurement professionals, 85 certified mitigation professionals, and 15 laboratories certified to provide radon services in Kansas. The complete list of certified radon professionals is available at http://www.kdheks.gov/radiation/download/Certified_Contractor_List.pdf.
Mitigating radon often can be accomplished in one day, with a guarantee to reduce the level below 4 pCi/L. The average cost ranges from $1,200 to $1,700 nationally, Snead said.
More information about radon is available at most K-State Research and Extension offices, online at the Kansas Radon Program (based at K-State): www.kansasradonprogram.org or by calling 1-800-693-5343. The Environmental Protection Agency’s National Radon Program Services also is housed in Engineering Extension at K-State.