Date Published: 03/26/2020 [Source]
So many of us are stuck inside, what with stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and working remotely. Still, breathing freely — particularly during a respiratory illness-inducing pandemic — is critical. What's the best way to ensure good air quality at home?
Radon, for example, is an odorless, colorless gas that forms naturally from the ground. It's the No. 1 cause of lung cancer for those who don't smoke, and can boost the risk much higher for those who do. Most people are exposed to radon outdoors at very low levels with no major issue. It's indoors, when radon seeps into basements and homes and accumulates at higher levels, that the radioactive element can become hazardous. That's particularly true in Pennsylvania, which is a geological hotspot for high radon levels. The state Department of Environmental Protection estimates that 40% of houses in the state have radon concentrations above the amount at which the Environmental Protection Agency recommends action. And even though the toxic element tends to enter homes through rock and soil, high levels also have been found in Pennsylvania water wells.
"Everyone should have their home tested for radon," Minott said this week. "You do not need to get someone to come and test for you. We have kits from the Clean Air Council, [or you can get one at] any hardware store, a Home Depot … you expose it for a few days, and then you send it to a lab, and they'll give you what the results are." Other invisible chemical hazards, like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, can be minimized by ensuring proper installation and use of combustion appliances like heaters, as well as maintaining good ventilation and airflow — yes, this means opening the window. It's also critical to have a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in a central area of your home. Air purifiers and humidifiers can help to alleviate common indoor-air issues with dryness, dust, or pollen.
Pull up those blinds, push back the curtains and open a window.