You are currently viewing January is Radon Awareness Month

January is Radon Awareness Month

Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that causes no immediate health symptoms, but long-term exposures can cause lung cancer.  It comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil. Simple test kits can reveal the amount of radon in any building.

All of Iowa is considered to have unsafe levels of radon, however, Allamakee County is prone to have even higher numbers due to the fractured bedrock and karst topography under our feet.  Fractures in the bedrock create small cracks and fissures that allow radon to move easier through the stone and soils and make entry into homes.

Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. As they break down further, lung tissue can be damaged, which can lead to lung cancer. Not everyone exposed to elevated levels of radon will develop lung cancer and the amount of time between exposure and the onset of the disease may be many years. Persons who smoke or have been smokers are at 10 times more risk than persons who have never smoked.

Radon gas seeps into a house from the soil around and under the home; through cracks in the foundation, floor or walls; through hollow-block walls; and through openings around floor drains, pipes and sump pumps. Radon has been detected in new homes and in old homes, and in homes with or without basements. Once the Radon is detected it can be fixed with simple and affordable venting techniques.

Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care/Allamakee County Public Health encourages everyone to test their home for Radon.  Test kits are simple to use and inexpensive. They can be purchased for $8 at the Allamakee County Environmental Health Department in the Courthouse.  See Laurie Moody or Mandy O’Neill for more information, or call them at 563-568-4104.