Are you looking forward to the holidays? As this new holiday season rolls around, families and friends are gathering to celebrate, fuss over new babies, eat turkey and dressing, and exchange gifts. It is a time of joy and generosity. But what if you and your guests are in your home and unbeknownst to you, you have a thief in your house? A thief you cannot see, smell, hear, taste, or touch, that is silently stealing your health and the health of your loved ones.
Radon can be that thief. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas and is the second leading cause of lung cancer (the first leading cause among non-smokers). It comes from the decay of uranium in rock and soil. Radon levels tend to be low outside; however, inside your home radon can build to high levels making it dangerous! Also, radon is heavier than air so babies, young children, and pets are at an even higher risk since they are closer to the ground where the radon level is higher.
So, how can you protect yourself and your loved ones this holiday season? Test your home for radon. Testing is the only way to know the radon level in your home. Testing is easy. Simply hang the kit at the shortest person’s breathing level in a room such as a family room or bedroom on the lowest livable level of your home. Three to seven days later take it down and drop it in the mail. The great thing is when you get a test kit from the University of Georgia the postage and laboratory analysis are pre-paid! Radon levels at 4 picocuriesper liter (pCi/L) and above are unsafe, but some relatively simple measures can be implemented to reduce the level of radon in your home if they are high.
To ensure a safe and healthy holiday season with no radon thief around, test for radon today! Also consider giving radon test kits as gifts. Health and peace of mind are gifts that keep giving, and the test kits make great stocking stuffers!
For more information or to order test kits go to www.UGAradon.org or call your county Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.
Happy Holidays from the University of Georgia Extension!