It’s ‘Radon Action Month’ in Iowa (for very good reason)


indoor_radon_levels_and_zones_per_u.s._county
The entire state of Iowa is at risk for high levels of radon (Wikimedia Commons).

Julia Poska | January 17, 2019

This week, Gov. Kim Reynolds designated January as “Radon Action Month” for the state of Iowa. Various areas across the country share that designation. Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Public Health encourage people to test their homes for radon and take steps towards resolving the issue if a problem is discovered.

Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that forms when naturally occurring uranium in soil and rocks decays. It often leaks from soil into homes via water, cracks in foundations and walls, or poorly sealed windows. Long-term exposure to elevated levels of radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers in the U.S.

Iowa has high levels of radon across the board. Every county is listed as EPA Radon Zone 1, meaning over 50 percent of tested households had radon levels above the EPA’s 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) threshold for recommended testing. In 2014, testing in some Iowa counties indicated average levels above 10 ppi. The U.S. average is 1.3 pC/I, according to the Iowa Radon Homebuyers and Sellers Fact Sheet.

If a homeowner determines that radon in their home is above 4 pCi/L, public health agencies recommend mitigating the issue. First, call Iowa’s Radon Hotline (1-800-383-5992) for information and guidance. Then contact a registered radon mitigation contractor to determine how to best solve the issue in your home and implement strategies like suction, sealants and pressurization.  According to the Kansas State University National Radon Program Services, such a system typically costs about $800 to $1500 dollars.

RESOURCES

Testing kits can be purchased cheaply your local county health department, at the Iowa Radon Hotline (1-800-383-5992), or online (ratings here).

Information about mitigating a radon issue can be found here.

The Iowa Department of Public Health’s official list of registered radon mitigation specialists can be found here.

Learn about radon data for your locality here.
*** Keep in mind that these data are based on averages from a small sample of homes    in the area, and may not be a useful indicator for radon exposure risk in your home.

More information on radon

On the Radio: Radon Testing Programs


 

Photo by GrrlScientist; Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment covers the issue of radon testing and it’s funding in both the state and federal levels. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

Continue reading

On the Radio: Radon a risk in Iowa schools


Photo by Birdies100, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s episode discusses the lack of guidelines for radon testing in Iowa schools.

When it comes to radon, it’s time for Iowans to think of our children.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Continue reading

Clay County offers free radon kits for National Radon Action Month


This map from the EPA shows radon levels around Iowa. Red indicates areas with the highest average indoor screening levels of radon.

January is National Radon Action Month, which is especially important to Iowa: the state with the highest concentration of radon in the nation.

To help increase awareness of radon and promote radon testing, Clay County is offering free short-term radon kits to the first 50 people who stop by the Clay County Environmental Health Office.

An estimated 70 percent of Iowa homes contain dangerous levels of radon. According to the EPA, radon accounts for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year.

For more information on radon and its risks, listen to our radio clip here.

Read The Daily Reporter’s full article on Clay County’s efforts here.

On the Radio: High radon risk for energy-efficient homes


Photo by Birdies100, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below.  It discusses the increased threat for radon in energy efficient homes.  Additional reporting on radon in energy efficient homes is also available from the Iowa Environmental Focus here. Continue reading