Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment have proclaimed January “Kansas Radon Action Month” to help educate Kansans about the dangers of radon exposure and encourage actions to identify and address radon problems in the home.
According to KDHE, radon is a tasteless, odorless, colorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas found in nearly all soils which comes from the breakdown of uranium. Outdoors, radon is diluted to low concentrations, but once inside an enclosed space, radon can accumulate to significant levels.
Radon is the first leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause in smokers. Nationally, radon causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
About one out of every three radon measurements performed in Kansas are elevated. Some areas have higher levels than others, though elevated levels of radon have been detected in every county in the state. As many as one in 15 homes across the U.S. has elevated radon levels that often go undetected because of a lack of testing.
Inexpensive radon test kits are available year round at local hardware and builder’s supply stores and at any Kansas county extension office. The tests that reveal high levels can be fixed with reliable and effective radon reduction techniques completed by a certified radon professional.
According to County Extension Agent Donna Krug, there are some precautions a homeowner can take to reduce the radon coming into the home.
A homeowner should fill in cracks in the basement and in the foundation. There is also a mitigation process involving adding a PCV pipe that runs from the concrete slab underneath the building up through the structure and out the side or out through the roof. A fan attached to the pipe that draws air from under the house allowing the radon to escape without entering the building.
“When you test for radon and if you get a good reading you really don’t have to test again unless you disrupt the soil around the residence.” Krug said.
The Barton County Extension Office has test kits available for people to purchase. The cost is $5.50.
The kit is designed to test for levels of radon in a structure, They are easy to use. Once the test is complete it gets sent back to the testing center and you receive your results in about 10 days.
There is no added cost for mailing.
If the test shows a high concentration, the home owner should contact the local extension office for a list of certified contractors.
For more information or to obtain a test kit call Krug at 620-792-1910, the Kansas Radon Hotline at 800-693-5343, or visit kansasradonprogram.org.