Radon is an invisible and odorless radioactive gas that occurs naturally from decaying uranium underneath the earth’s surface. Though you cannot see, smell or taste radon, it is there and has been noted as the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Radon rises through the soil and seeps through cracks, holes and drain pipes in the foundation or basement of your home and office. It can be found all over the United States and according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1 out of every 15 homes in the country has high levels of radon.
Symptoms of radon gas poisoning are not as immediately apparent as those of other types of poisons. Odorless poisons like carbon monoxide are more immediate, whereas radon’s effects take place over a longer term. That’s why it’s important to have your home tested one to two times per year, as radon levels can vary from season to season.
Radon test kits are available at local home improvement stores. Homeowners can perform the test themselves and then simply mail in the samples to receive the results.
Correcting high radon levels is very simple and can be done by a local radon mitigation contractor — but finding the problem in time is the hard part.
Joel Wensley is a licensed mechanical contractor in the state of Michigan, a WJBK-TV Fox2 Detroit news contributor and president of Mechanical Heating & Cooling in Dearborn Heights.