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Radon is a real threat in Iowa, says Bruce

Date Published: 02/18/2020 [Source]

In mid-January 2019, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds declared January as "Radon Action Month."

The proclamation served as a way to remind Iowa residents to test their home for the deadly gas. However, Red Oak Fire Chief John Bruce said it's a concern year-round, not just in January.

"It is a real threat to our community and surroundings," commented Bruce. "Radon is a substance very few know about, yet it is extremely harmful."

In fact, Bruce said Iowa has the highest risk in the nation for elevated levels of radon; an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas that causes lung cancer after long-term exposure.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the state has a very high potential for elevated levels of radon gas.

Radon comes from nature, and tends to be higher in Iowa because the soil has elevated levels of radium.

According to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, this dates back to the state's glacial history. Radon seeps into homes the same way air does: from soil around the home, through cracks in the foundation, floor or walls, through openings around floor drains, pipes and sump pumps or through hollow-block walls. It can be found in old and new homes alike, and having a basement, or not, makes no difference.

All of Iowa is listed as being in "Zone 1" which is to have radon levels of more than 4 pCi/L.

Property owners who find levels that meet or exceed that number are urged to hire a radon mitigation contractor to fix their radon problems, states the IDPH.

It continued to say roughly 400 Iowans die from radon exposure each year.

The Iowa Department of Public Health contracts with the American Lung Association to maintain the Health Air - Radon in Iowa website, and staff Iowa's Radon Hotline. The Hotline number is 1-800-383-5992 to order low-cost radon test kits and find answers to your radon questions.