If you’re in the Metro Atlanta Area, call Southern Home Inspection Services @ 770 645 2132 to get a Radon Test!
Southern Home Inspection Services’ website – http://weinspect4u.com
If you’re in the Metro Atlanta Area, call Southern Home Inspection Services @ 770 645 2132 to get a Radon Test!
Southern Home Inspection Services’ website – http://weinspect4u.com
Back in 2004, we had a radon test done on our home in Bent Tree. We always figured since we were high up in the North Georgia mountains, we probably didn’t have any fear of radon gas but…you never know if you have elevated levels or radon gas until you test…when we tested we had elevated levels of 11.4 pci/L which is 3 times what the EPA recommends having a radon mitigation. We put in a radon mitigation system, $1,500 and today, our levels are .9 pci/L. Unbelievable that we could not see or smell the radon gas but we were living in our home with 11.4 pci/L levels!
For Gail Orcutt it started with a cough and a wheeze — probably little to worry about for a thin woman who worked out and ate healthfully.
It got worse in that spring of 2009. Soon the wheezing came with every breath. So Orcutt went to the doctor. Then she had a lung biopsy. It was cancer.
Along with a fungus called aspergillosis, doctors found a cancerous tumor growing in a bronchial tube in the lower lobe of Orcutt’s left lung. Why did she, an otherwise healthy non-smoker, get lung cancer?
The second-leading cause of lung cancer is radon — a colorless, odorless gas that seeps into buildings through cracks in walls and foundations. The gas, produced by decaying uranium deposited in the soil by glacial activity, kills more than 21,000 Americans each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. About 400 of those deaths are Iowans.
Orcutt tested her home of 18 years in Pleasant Hill and found that the radiation measured 6.9 picocuries per liter, far above the measure of 4.0 that the EPA deems most dangerous.
“I panicked,” Orcutt said. “I could hardly breathe, knowing that’s what we were living with.”
Iowa has the nation’s highest concentrations of radon, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. All 99 counties, including 70 percent of homes statewide, fall inside the EPA’s danger zone.
Orcutt’s cancer was caught early. After surgery, two months of chemotherapy and a lot of positive thinking, the cancer hasn’t come back. Most of the radon is gone, too, thanks to the $1,400 mitigation system she and her husband, Bill, had installed in their home.
Small steps have been taken to address the health threat that researchers have acknowledged for decades, but a growing group of concerned Iowans worries that neither lawmakers nor doctors are doing enough to protect people in the state radon effects most.
An increasing risk
Increasing numbers of Iowans are testing their homes for radon — an encouraging sign, advocates say. Yet radon levels have increased across much of Iowa as people place a greater value on tightly sealed, energy-efficient homes at the expense of indoor air quality. Radon still enters those homes through the ground, but it doesn’t escape.
“There are more homes now in need of radon mitigation than there were in the past,” said Bill Field, a University of Iowa researcher and author of several key studies linking radon and lung cancer.
One of his recent studies found that people living five to 30 years in homes with radon concentrations of 3.0 picocuries per liter of air had an 11 percent to 21 percent increased risk of lung cancer. That risk increased with more radon exposure.
“Since most homes now have some form of air conditioning, as compared to before 1970, yearly average home radon concentrations tend to be higher,” Field said.
That statement echoes the findings of an Institute of Medicine Report released in June, which warns about the increase of indoor air pollution.
“You want to save energy, but you want to make your first priority your health,” said Mark Mitchell, who runs the one-man Mark Mitchell Radon Mitigation, based in Iowa City.
Mitchell, who originally worked in construction, has been mitigating homes since 1991, when it was still a rare practice. He said he first learned about Iowa’s radon problem at early meetings about energy-efficient home construction. Most builders wanted to dismiss radon’s danger, he said, believing mitigation was incompatible with conserving energy.
“They treated radon as a thorn in their side,” he said.
Several forms of mitigation are energy-efficient and require only small amounts of airflow, Mitchell said.
Despite that, most new homes built in Iowa are built without radon in mind.
“Some of the worst indoor air quality I’ve seen has been in new homes,” said Ruby Perin, director of Linn County Healthy Homes. “They’re just too tight.”
Searching for solutions
Six states — Michigan, Minnesota, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington — have enacted codes to mandate that new buildings be constructed as radon resistant. In Iowa, a handful of local jurisdictions, mostly in Eastern Iowa, have adopted preventive building codes. They include Johnson and Muscatine counties and the cities of Muscatine, Coralville, Iowa City and North Liberty.
Iowa’s few statewide rules mandate that child care facilities must be tested, that Realtors must present prospective homebuyers with a fact sheet on radon and that homebuyers must receive any data if a home has been tested.
The Iowa Radon Coalition is looking to draft and push legislation in the next session that would encourage more testing and mitigation. Members acknowledge the Legislature has grown less receptive to regulation, however, and they anticipate opposition from builders and Realtors.
Paul McLaughlin, legal council to the Iowa Association of Realtors, said that group would oppose mandatory testing and mitigation of new homes. He said the current rules work well.
“The vast majority of metropolitan markets honor the rule,” he said, though he recently received a call from a rural Realtor who didn’t know of the law.
“I don’t think that the vast majority of Realtors are overly concerned about people not testing their homes for radon,” he added.
Nationally, momentum is growing, though. In June, the federal government released an action plan to increase radon awareness and mitigation by leveraging existing government programs.
“They are working to spread the message with what little money they have,” said Angela Tin, vice president of the American Lung Association in Illinois, where the Legislature recently passed a law requiring landlords to disclose results when buildings test high for radon.
The Iowa coalition is not relying solely on legislators; they hope doctors can get the word out, too.
After Orcutt told her family doctor about her cancer, he put up posters about radon in his waiting room and added queries about radon exposure to his patient questionnaire.
When asked why few doctors put radon questions on patient surveys, Lawrence Hutchison, president of the Iowa Medical Association, said: “That’s a great question. Why don’t we have it on there?”
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In the North Georgia Mountains, if you are looking to have your home tested for Radon Gas, give Southern Home Inspection Services a call 770-893-2306. They will come out with the Sun Nuclear continuous monitor, set it up inside your home for up to 48 hours. They can give you a digital reading at the time they pick the monitor up and then send you the report that evening. It is ideal to know if you have elevated levels of radon gas in your home so you can do something about it. Give them a call.
What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally-occurring gas that is found in the soil; you cannot see, smell, or taste radon. Radon enters buildings through cracks and holes in the foundation and can accumulate to elevated levels. More Info
Why is it a problem?
Radon exposure can increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer. The Surgeon General of the United States has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States – second only to smoking. For non-smokers in this country, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer.
Should I Test My Home?
Testing is the only way to know if you have elevated radon levels in your home. You can test your home using a kit purchased from a home improvement/hardware store, or a professional tester can be hired to test your home. When done correctly, both methods can provide accurate information on indoor radon levels.
There are two types of tests typically conducted in homes:
January is National Radon Month – if you’ve never had your home tested for Radon, do so. It’s worth the price to know if you have elevated levels of radon in your home. Your health and your family’s health is worth it!
Below is a post from December 2008-Be knowledgable of Radon Gas.
Breathing is a bit ignored until you can’t do it anymore. We’ve all experienced the overwhelming need to gulp for air after strenuous exercise, but if you’re a victim of lung cancer, that gulping is a minute by minute experience.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency radon gas is the number two cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Number two is right up there. Number one is smoking.
Now smoking is obvious. It’s logical that lighting a cigarette and inhaling smoke into one’s lungs on a regular basis would cause lung cancer. It’s blatant. One can smell the smoke, taste the flavors of the smoke, and feel the burn in the lungs.
Radon on the other hand is sneaky. It has no odor. It’s invisible. It’s tasteless. It can be inhaled with every breath and not be known until it’s too late.
For those who have not heard of radon, it is a radioactive gas which naturally occurs in the soil. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer. It usually has highest concentrations in basements. It can easily be tested for, and can easily be remediated. Because radon is a gas, expelling it above ground dilutes the radon gas and makes it less dangerous.
The testing can be done by a professional inspector or by the homeowner. There are two kinds of tests. The one done most frequently is “passive” which means nothing is done except to place a dish similar to a petri dish in a protected location in the basement. The canister is left there for 3 days and then covered and removed. It is sent to a lab for testing. The second kind of testing actually takes hourly readings over a 3 day period giving a more accurate measure of the presence of radon.
The video below will give you a lot of good information on Radon Gas, take the time to watch it!
And How Does Radon Affect Pickens County, Georgia?
We had a radon test done on our home in Bent Tree in June 2004. Our radon levels came back at 11.4 pci/l, which is 3 times what the EPA recommends a mitigation system. We had a radon mitigation system installed in our home, at a cost of about $1,500.00, and today our radon levels are 1.0 pci/l. Very acceptable.
But when we purchased our home in 1997, we knew nothing about radon gas, so of course, did not have a radon test done.
What is Radon Gas? Radon is naturally occurring, odorless, and colorless gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Because radon is a gas, it can enter buildings through openings or cracks in the foundation. The radon gas itself decays into radioactive solids, called radon daughters. The radon daughters attach to dust particles in the air, and can be inhaled. The inhalation of radon daughters has been linked to lung cancer.
Radon has been identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States (second only to smoking.) The Environmental Protection Agency reports that radon causes between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the United States.
|The World Health Organization has released their Handbook on Indoor Radon which strongly validates the worldwide threat of exposure to radon gas. WHO now suggests that homeowners take action when radon levels exceed 2.7 pCi/l.|
Radon Gas – Second Leading Cause of Lung Cancer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRLog (Press Release) – Sep 22, 2009 – Radon gas has been identified as the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers according to recent studies conducted throughout the world. The World Health Organization states that as many as 14% of the lung cancer cases in many countries (including the United States) are caused by exposure to radon gas. These recent findings have lead to the establishment of a new standard for action of 2.7 for indoor radon levels.
The World Health Organization has released their Handbook on Indoor Radon which strongly validates the worldwide threat of exposure to radon gas. According to handbook, WHO has been studying the effects of radon exposure since 1979. Although radon was classified as a human carcinogen in 1988, it took over 20-years of sound research and real-life studies from all over the world to confirm the true magnitude of the risk radon poses. Based on the results of these studies, WHO now suggests that homeowners take action when radon levels exceed 2.7 pCi/l. This is a much more conservative figure than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA’s) action level of 4.0 pCi/l, which has been the U.S. standard for over 20-years.
More than 100 scientists from 30 countries have participated in the World Health Organization International Radon Project since 2005 which has lead to the publishing of the WHO Handbook on Indoor Radon this year. The book is a useful resource for concerned homeowners or anyone who wants to learn more about the toxic carcinogen known as radon. It outlines the years of research and the very conclusive findings that have triggered a push for stricter legislation and construction practices that will reduce the risk of indoor radon exposure to the general population.
You an download a copy of the WHO Radon Handbook here: WHO Radon Handbook
The United Nations also broke new ground in the international fight on radon-induced lung cancer earlier this year when they released their acknowledgement of the radon problems throughout the world. They analyzed both residential studies as well as extrapolated data from underground miner studies to confirm the previously understated radon risk. Their findings are documented in The U.N. Assessment for Radon in Homes and Workplaces:
“By encouraging people to take action when radon levels exceed 2.7 rather than the previous limit of 4.0, we should see a dramatic increase in the number of homes being tested and mitigated as well as improved enforcement of radon resistant new construction requirements,” according to Jamey Gelina, a radon mitigation specialist with Air Quality Control Agency. His firm is one of the largest companies in the U.S. that specializes in installing radon removal equipment. http://www.MitigationSystem.com
Most major health organizations (including The American Medical Association, National Cancer Institute, and American Lung Association) for years have known that radon increases lung cancer risk. However, recent studies have confirmed that the risk is evident even at levels much lower than earlier studies suggested. The good news is this: Radon testing is easy and inexpensive. Homes with elevated radon levels (even at 2.7) can be fixed using current radon remediation technology. Learn more at http://www.RadonMitigation.us
If you would like to have a radon test done on your home (within the Pickens County, GA area), call Southern Home Inspection Services @ 770-645-2132. Southern Home Inspection Services uses the continuous monitoring Sun Nuclear radon machines and can have your radon results within 48 to 72 hours.
To have your home tested for Radon, contact Southern Home Inspection Services @ 770-645-2132 or www.weinspect4u.com ~ .
Below courtesy of EPA.gov
Lung cancer kills thousands of Americans every year. Smoking, radon, and secondhand smoke are the leading causes of lung cancer. Although lung cancer can be treated, the survival rate is one of the lowest for those with cancer. From the time of diagnosis, between 11 and 15 percent of those afflicted will live beyond five years, depending upon demographic factors. In many cases lung cancer can be prevented.
Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Smoking causes an estimated 160,000* cancer deaths in the U.S. every year (American Cancer Society, 2004). And the rate among women is rising. On January 11, 1964, Dr. Luther L. Terry, then U.S. Surgeon General, issued the first warning on the link between smoking and lung cancer. Lung cancer now surpasses breast cancer as the number one cause of death among women. A smoker who is also exposed to radon has a much higher risk of lung cancer.
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. On January 13, 2005, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the U.S. Surgeon General, issued a national health advisory on radon. Visit www.cheec.uiowa.edu/misc/radon.html for more on a study by Dr. William Field on radon-related lung cancer in women.
Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of lung cancer and responsible for an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Smoking affects non-smokers by exposing them to secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke can have serious consequences for children’s health, including asthma attacks, affecting the respiratory tract (bronchitis, pneumonia), and may cause ear infections.
Learning more about lung cancer. The following sources provide a wide range of good information about lung cancer, prevention, and treatment.
EPA estimates that about 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon-related. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Radon is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water. Radon is a form of ionizing radiation and a proven carcinogen. Lung cancer is the only known effect on human health from exposure to radon in air. Thus far, there is no evidence that children are at greater risk of lung cancer than are adults.
Radon in air is ubiquitous. Radon is found in outdoor air and in the indoor air of buildings of all kinds. EPA recommends homes be fixed if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter) or more. Because there is no known safe level of exposure to radon, EPA also recommends that Americans consider fixing their home for radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. The average radon concentration in the indoor air of America’s homes is about 1.3 pCi/L. It is upon this level that EPA based its estimate of 20,000 radon-related lung cancers a year upon. It is for this simple reason that EPA recommends that Americans consider fixing their homes when the radon level is between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. The average concentration of radon in outdoor air is .4 pCi/L or 1/10th of EPA’s 4 pCi/L action level.
For smokers the risk of lung cancer is significant due to the synergistic effects of radon and smoking. For this population about 62 people in a 1,000 will die of lung-cancer, compared to 7.3 people in a 1,000 for never smokers. Put another way, a person who never smoked (never smoker) who is exposed to 1.3 pCi/L has a 2 in 1,000 chance of lung cancer; while a smoker has a 20 in 1,000 chance of dying from lung cancer. Figure A compares the risks between smokers and never smokers; smokers are at a much higher risk than never smokers, e.g., at 8 pCi/L the risk to smokers is six times the risk to never smokers.
The radon health risk is underscored by the fact that in 1988 Congress added Title III on Indoor Radon Abatement to the Toxic Substances Control Act. It codified and funded EPA’s then fledgling radon program. Also that year, the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General issued a warning about radon urging Americans to test their homes and to reduce the radon level when necessary (U.S. Surgeon General).
Unfortunately, many Americans presume that because the action level is 4 pCi/L, a radon level of less than 4 pCi/L is ‘safe’. This perception is altogether too common in the residential real estate market. In managing any risk, we should be concerned with the greatest risk. For most Americans, their greatest exposure to radon is in their homes; especially in rooms that are below grade (e.g., basements), rooms that are in contact with the ground and those rooms immediately above them.
It’s never too late to reduce your risk of lung cancer. Don’t wait to test and fix a radon problem. If you are a smoker, stop smoking. Consider quitting. Until you can quit, smoke outside and provide your family with a smoke-free home (www.epa.gov/smokefree).
Take the Smoke-free Home Pledge today!
Kansas State University (KSU) and the National Safety Council (NSC), in partnership with EPA, are proud to announce the 2010 National Radon Poster Contest winners. Congratulations to all of the participants in the 2010 National Radon Poster Contest, and special congratulations to our national winners listed below. To view all of national and state level winning posters, visit the KSU National Radon Program Services Web site at http://sosradon.org/2010-poster-contest .
For the 2010 contest, 216 schools in 36 states, one U.S. territory and seven tribal nations created a total of 2,862 posters. This is an impressive increase over the results from previous years, and shows how increased efforts have helped raise awareness of radon risk among children and their parents.
The top national winner, a parent and the sponsoring teacher will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC to be honored during the National Radon Poster Contest Awards Luncheon at the Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools National Symposium in January 2010.
Eddie’s Story ~ Please Check It Out!