|A lot has been said about Joplin folks tornado-proofing their new homes, including the use of insulating concrete form construction, impact resistant windows, tornado tie-downs and tornado shelters. But, perhaps, not enough has been said about something that Joplin properties have that kills over 20,000 people nationally.
2012 is the year to end procrastination
It's National Radon Action Month and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 is encouraging people to take simple and affordable steps to test their homes for harmful levels of radon gas, the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. The agency also suggests that home builders discuss radon-resistant construction techniques with their contractors to try to prevent this health hazard in the first place.
The EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend that all existing homes, both with and without basements be tested for radon. Affordable do-it-yourself radon test kits are available at home improvement and hardware stores and online.
Radon can enter a home through cracks in the foundation or other openings such as holes or pipes. Although it can enter a home through the water supply (usually a private well or other ground water supply system), entry through the soil is a much larger risk. The EPA recommends taking action to fix radon levels above 4 Picocuries per Liter (piCi/L) (and some Joplin properties have tested above 10 piCi/L!). Radon levels are lowered through the installation of a remediation system.