Monday, January 14, 2013
Bernalillo County environmental health officials today highlighted simple and affordable ways for local households to test and mitigate for radon.
Bernalillo County has partnered with a private company, DrHomeAir, to provide radon test kits to county residents at a reduced cost of $7.
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that causes lung cancer. It can seep through the ground into homes. Since it is colorless and odorless, the best way to know if a house has high levels is to test the air with a radon test kit.
“January is National Radon Action Month, and we encourage the community to be proactive and test their homes for radon,” says George Schroeder, a Bernalillo County environmental health official. “Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in this country, so it’s an issue that should be taken seriously. However, if the test shows high levels of radon, this is an issue that can be dealt with fairly simply by installing a ventilation system.”
Here’s how the radon kit program works: Residents buy the kits, then follow the instructions to test for radon in their homes. The kits are sent to the lab for analysis. Results are sent to the residents.
If radon is detected above four picocuries per liter, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency encourages households to take further action to lower the radon level. One option is to contact a contractor to price and install a ventilation system for the home that would divert the radon gas away from the home and into the air. The cost to install a ventilation system can range from about $500 to several thousand dollars, depending on the size of the house.
Bernalillo County officials are available to provide technical guidance on this point.
“Winter is the best time to test your home for radon gas, as the home’s windows and doors are typically closed,” Schroeder says.
Test kits may also be purchased in person from Bernalillo County at 111 Union Square S.E., 3rd floor, 87102. The cost is $7 plus postage. There is no postage charge if the kits are ordered online.
Call 505.314.0310 for more information or click here
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also offers a wealth of information at www.epa.gov/radon