If there were a simple inexpensive test you could do to see if your home contains a gas that is the No. 2 cause of lung cancer, would you do it? The good news is, yes, there is such a test. It's extremely easy to do, inexpensive and readily available by simply contacting one of the KSU-River Valley Extension offices with locations in Belleville, Clay Center, Concordia and Washington.
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is produced as uranium and radium decompose. It doesn't matter if your home is old or new, how well your home is insulated, or if your neighbor had radon or not. The determining factor is the particular soil your home is built on. The amount of radon that escapes from the soil to enter a home depends on the soil porosity, soil moisture, the weather and the suction within the home.
All of the counties in northeastern and north-central Kansas have average levels of radon that are higher than the recommended 4.0 pCi/L. Of the 327 tests that have been performed in Cloud County through 2010, 202 homes had too much radon. Cloud County's average was 6.2. From the 278 tests performed in Clay County, 162 homes registered too much radon. Clay's average was 7.3 pCi/L. Republic County's test results, while also averaging too high, showed more variation. The Scandia area results showed very little radon with Munden reporting moderate amounts. The remaining part of Republic County averaged quite high radon levels at7.0 pCi/L. The 266 tests reported from Washington County reported an average of 6.9 pCi/l.
The first step to know if your home has a radon problem is to perform a self-test. Test kits are available at KSU Research & Extension offices located throughout the state. This time of year is ideal for testing because homes are closed up. For more information on radon or to purchase a test kit, contact your local extension office or visit the state radon website at www.kansasradonprogram.org.
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