Radon testing is imperative, especially for those that spend extended periods of time in their home like seniors or those with limited mobility. January is National Radon Action Month- and the perfect time to have your home- or the home of someone you love- tested for radon. It is a low-cost way to ensure a safe and healthy environment, free from radon carcinogens and toxins.
Radon is something that everyone should be concerned with and routine testing of the home should be a routine occurrence. This is a particular issue facing those that spend extended time indoors, such as seniors or those with limited mobility. Since January is National Radon Action Month, it makes sense for radon testing, since this invisible, odorless gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Some ways to observe and further the cause of National Radon Action Month is to consider the impacts of radon and sensible ways to lower its risk in the home. Whether you are concerned for a housebound loved one or your own wellbeing, this is the time to make modifications that reduce the risk of radon exposure.
The good news is that you can test and lower radon levels in the home quite-simply, and the EPA endorses that January be a time to pay attention to radon and radon testing widely. When assisting individuals with mobility solutions, make sure to assess the radon situation in the home environment, too.
Here’s what you need to know about radon testing your home:
The Problem with Radon
The problem with Radon is that it is cancerous; in fact, radon is the leading cause of death by cancer in this country, according to experts. It is estimated that around 21k people die each year from the consequences of exposure to Radon, which primarily includes lung cancer. This is a distinctive situation as the connection between radon and subsequent lung cancer has been proven by healthcare experts. In sum, the problem with radon is that it is a poisonous, carcinogenic gas.
It can be a catch-22 situation: you want to seal up your home from the elements, yet you need proper ventilation and airflow in the home. A home that is too tight or super energy-efficient can trap toxins, like radon. Homes become a kind of vacuum, sucking in and holding on to radon gas.
When you find through radon testing that radon is detected in the home, how did it get there? Well, radon can seep into the home from the soil, which is why porous surfaces, like concrete foundations, can be the door that radon uses to get inside your home. Gaps in floors and walls are also prime entry points for radon gas. There are a lot of variables that contribute to the radon level, so if your neighbor has low levels, it doesn’t mean yours are the same.
Radon can be a problem for residents widely, however the EPA issued a map that identifies the most-prone areas for high radon levels. This map of EPA radon zones, color-codes counties into zones, with zone 1 having the highest predicted levels and zone 3 having the lowest. The EPA asserts, however, that radon is commonly found in any and all zones. There are many variables to consider, from environmental to your own personal lifestyle, that could account for varying levels of radon from one residence to the next.
Lowering Radon Levels
If you find that your radon level is high, don’t delay action. Use these strategies to lower your levels:
- Caulk any cracks or gaps that you find in the foundation or cellar with a polyurethane caulk.
- Install an airtight lid over your sump-pump, if you have one.
- Lay polyurethane plastic sheets over the earth in your home’s crawlspace. Secure the sheet tightly to the foundation walls.
- Consider sealing the concrete foundation of your home.
- Continue to test your radon levels to ensure they are not consistently high.
If your home is tested and the radon is high, don’t panic. There are things that you can do to reduce the levels and, no, you don’t have to pack up and move out. The most serious consequences of high radon levels come from prolonged exposure; the important thing is that you now know what the level is. Talk to an abatement specialist or contractor to learn more about mitigating the high radon level in the home by ventilating the home with PVC piping to move radon out of the space.
Why wait until January? Contact your local municipality, agency on aging, or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for more information about radon testing today. For mobility solutions and tips for aging in place, contact Pacific Mobility to learn more.
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)