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Radon check for your home


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WASHINGTON - The surgeon general is reminding Americans to have their homes checked for radon.

Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona issued the reminder Thursday during a workshop on maintaining a healthy indoor environment.

"Indoor radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the county," Carmona said.

The warning estimated that 20,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer annually.

Radon, an invisible, odorless gas, results from the breakdown of uranium within the earth. The radioactive gas works its way up through the ground and enters homes and offices.

Simple test kits are available to check radon levels and if too much is present it can be removed by inexpensive venting, Carmona noted.

EPA Radon web site: www.epa.gov/radon

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The house we just moved into tested positive for radon. What's interesting is that the 24-hour test showed only mildly elevated levels beyond the recommended amount, but being the OCD person that I am, I asked for a 3-day test that measured constant levels. They were 5 TIMES over the legal amount! So we had the owner of the home put in a radon remediation system ($800 here) before we would agree to buy the house.

It seems to be working quite well. Just thought I'd share. I also think it's important to test for lead paint, and if you have an old house that you know has lead paint, please keep your children away from the dust it creates. And have your water tested.


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I was told that the Midwest, which is where I live, and areas that have a lot of rock and hills are more prone to radon. Also, it's most detectable in the lowest level of your home (basement). I have a finished basement, and since we spend a considerable amount of time down there, I wanted to know we'd be safe.

But if you had borderline levels in a basement that was only used to house your furnace, then maybe it would not be worth putting in a remediation system.

Oh, I just found this handy map of the U.S. and the highest radon-concentrated areas:


It looks like Oregon is much safer than where I am. Holy moly, look at Iowa & the Dakotas!

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