January is National Radon Action Month, and we want you to help us spread the word about the dangers of radon and how to lower risk of radon exposure.
Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas occurring naturally in the earth as a result of decaying thorium and uranium. Radon flows from the ground into basements or other low parts of homes through cracks or holes in the foundation. Even if your home is well-sealed, there is a chance radon can find a way in.
Radon is fairly common in Minnesota – in fact, more than 40% of Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon gas in them according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Generally, winter is going to bring higher levels of radon into your home. This is due to a number of reasons:
- The stack effect is when warm air escapes faster in the winter due to the colder temperature of air outside, causing your home to draw more air from the foundation or soil, which can contain radon, leading to rising radon levels in the home;
- With the ground around your home being frozen and covered with snow, radon in the soil outside your home only has one way to rise, and that is into your home; and,
- With windows and door sealed tight to keep the winter cold out, less fresh air is circulated to dilute radon levels.
What Can I Do
The U.S. Surgeon General and Environmental Protection Agency recommend testing your home for radon, while the Minnesota Department of Health goes even further, requesting testing every 2-5 years.
Luckily, testing is fairly easy and affordable, and generally only takes a few days.
Radon is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L). The EPA and MDH recommend a homeowner take action if radon testing shows levels of 4.0 pCi/L or more. While it isn’t possible to reduce radon to zero, the best approach is to lower the radon level as much as possible. Any amount of radon, even at or below the recommended action level, carries some risk.
There isn’t much we can do to prevent radon from getting into a home, but once inside, mitigation is the best way to reduce radon levels by redirecting the radon through a ventilation system. Our technicians at Finken can do home radon testing as well as provide the mitigation to redirect the flow of radon and put your mind at ease.
Spread The Word
During National Radon Action Month in January, and all year long, encourage others to learn about radon and test their homes.
- Tell your family and friends about the health risk of radon, encouraging them to test their homes.
- Plan an activity in your community to help raise awareness.
- Write an op-ed or letter to the editor to your local newspaper.