(IMAGE SOURCE: 2013 Radon Poster Contest Winner: Eliza, Age 9 of Clinton, TN)
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. What’s more, one out of 15 (6%) homes nationally may have elevated indoor radon levels that should be lower, According to Kansas State University’s National Radon Program Services website. However, that figure isn’t necessarily spread out evenly; rather, the percentage of elevated homes in your state may be much higher.
IS YOUR KITCHEN A RADIOACTIVE HOT SPOT?
While granite does in fact contain a small amount of uranium, an element which transforms into radon as the stone slowly decays over time, you need not fret over your kitchen countertops becoming a health risk. “Countertops are so solid that they release only minute quantities of radon at a time,” says Shawn Price, president of the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists, “and it dissipates quickly in all directions.”
Therefore, if your house does indeed have a radon problem, the radioactive hot spot is probably rooted in the dirt under the home’s foundation–not the kitchen. Of course, the only way to know with certainty if your home is elevated is to put it to the test. If you’re interested in knowing for sure or just want piece of mind, both short term test kits (3-4 days; $15) and long term test kits (3-12 months; $25) can be purchased at sosradon.org/test-kits. If your level is 4 picocuries per liter or higher, you’ll need to hire a radon service professional, or the brave can try and evacuate the hazard themselves.
For more information you can look up your state’s radon contact at epa.gov/radon/whereyoulive.html and that contact can refer you to a radon contractor in your area. Alternatively, you can call the National Radon Hotline at (800) 767-7236 or send an email to National Radon Program Services.
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