Getting rid of radon in your home can save your life

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 9:34 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - January is National Radon Action Month, since winter is the best time to test your home for the potentially deadly gas.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that results from the breakdown of radioactive elements in the earth like uranium. It seeps into the basements of homes through cracks and other openings, eventually spreading throughout the house.

It is the number two cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and the number one cause among non-smokers.

With good ventilation it dissipates easily and remains pretty harmless. But in closed spaces it can build up.

“So it’s important to test in the winter months, it’s when it’s recommended, due to the fact that that’s when you have the highest level of radon gas within your home. Due to the dynamics of your home, heating your home, and the pressure on the ground outside from ice and snow cover,” said Marathon County Health Department Environmental Health Sanitarian Sara Brown.

The EPA lists a concentration of four picocuries of radon per liter is the maximum safe amount from human habitation. In Marathon County two-thirds of houses tested are above that amount.

The reason is the terrain. Uranium is found in high quantities in granite, which is plentiful in this area. Brown says she has seen readings from homes as high as 100 to 100 picocuries per liter.

The Marathon County Health Department recommends testing and offers tests for $ 9.00. Detectors can be purchased online or at hardware or home improvement stores.

Mitigation of radon gas can be done by drilling a hole through the basement floor and using a fan to vent the radon through a suction point in the ground out through the roof.

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