There is a silent killer lurking in some of our homes.

I'm no alarmist, but David Heaton from the Southwest Utah Public Health Department tells me that there is something we should all be aware of.

Francesco Scatena
Francesco Scatena

"January is National Radon Awareness month," he said. "Radon is a colorless, odorless, naturally occurring gas that comes up through the soil. A natural byproduct of the substance uranium.

"There is not much you can do about where it's at, but a lot of times it will come up through the foundations of homes. If it stays in your house long enough it can actually, over time, expose you chronically and it is actually the second highest cause of lung cancer in the United States after cigarette smoking."

It comes in a distant second, of course. Cigarette smoke is pretty actively damaging to people's lungs. But radon should not be dismissed.

Sign Radiation in the Fire Isolated on Black Background

"It can occur," Heaton said. "There is something you can do about it. It often will come in through basements or even if you don't have a basement it can come up through the foundation and just kind of stay in your home.

"If you are moving into a new home, a lot of inspectors or real estate agents will encourage you to get a radon test and if it's under a certain amount you don't really need to worry. If it's over a certain amount, there is mitigation factors you can do. There are private companies that will come in and do some simple procedures to vet the area and significantly lower that risk."
Heaton also said it is recommended you test your home every couple of years. You can go to Utah's Environmental Quality --  so it's and go to radon and you can order tests from them.
They are about $12. You just do it at home. There are a couple of instructions. They will email you the results. It is recomended you do that every couple of years.
By the way, our region, especially in Beaver, has higher occurences of radon, but it can occur anywhere.
So just for peace of mind and to lower that risk of cancer it is recommended that you test your home every couple of years if you haven't already.
The United States is concerned about the threat, too. Read more here: EPA website

Radon Risk If You Have Never Smoked

Radon LevelIf 1,000 people who never smoked were exposed to this level over a lifetime*...The risk of cancer from radon exposure compares to**...WHAT TO DO:
20 pCi/LAbout 36 people could get lung cancer35 times the risk of drowningFix your home
10 pCi/LAbout 18 people could get lung cancer20 times the risk of dying in a home fireFix your home
8 pCi/LAbout 15 people could get lung cancer4 times the risk of dying in a fallFix your home
4 pCi/LAbout 7 people could get lung cancerThe risk of dying in a car crashFix your home
2 pCi/LAbout 4 person could get lung cancerThe risk of dying from poisonConsider fixing between 2 and 4 pCi/L
1.3 pCi/LAbout 2 people could get lung cancer(Average indoor radon level)(Reducing radon levels below
2 pCi/L is difficult.)
0.4 pCi/L(Average outdoor radon level)
Note: If you are a former smoker, your risk may be higher.
* Lifetime risk of lung cancer deaths from EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003).
** Comparison data calculated using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 1999-2001 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Reports.

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