Earlier this year I completed a grant application through the Kansas Radon Program. The grant was approved so I have radon test kits available at the Barton County Extension Office for $1 for a limited time. The kits will be sold one per family on a first come/first served basis.
You may be asking yourself “Why would I want to test my home for radon?” Let me try to answer that question for you in my column space today. Radon is a naturally occurring gas caused from the break-down of uranium in soil. When a home or other structure has cracks in the floor or foundation radon gas can enter and collect in an indoor space causing the radon level to be elevated. The concern of having a high radon reading is that it is a known carcinogen and is recognized as the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Soil porosity has a lot to do with what the radon reading will be in a structure. The more compact the soil is around your home, generally the radon reading will be higher. More porous soils often times create lower readings. You really can’t tell by looking at two homes sitting side by side which would have a higher radon reading; the only way to know for sure is to test.
It is easy to perform a radon test. The kits available at our office are short-term kits. After opening the kit you would place it in the lowest level where you and your family spend time. I recommend testing your basement if you have one. There are great instructions that come with the kits and I can give you further instruction if you have questions. I recommend testing in a bedroom or family room. You want to stay away from the kitchen and bathroom areas because of the moisture created in these rooms.
After four to seven days you simply fill out the questions printed on the side of the kit and put it in the postage paid mailer. In a few days you will receive your results back via the mail or e-mail, whichever you choose. If your reading comes back higher than four picocuries per liter of air, I would recommend performing another test; kind of like getting a second opinion. If the tests are consistently high I can share the web site that lists the certified radon mitigation specialists in Kansas.
I hope many of you will take advantage of this nearly free radon test offer. Call me at the Extension office if you have any questions.
Donna Krug is the family and consumer science agent with K-State Research and Extension. One may reach her at 620-793-1910 or email@example.com.