COOLER WEATHER INCREASES RISK OF RADON EXPOSURE
Davidson County listed as potential high radon area by EPA
Checking smoke detector batteries and cleaning furnaces are two well known safety precautions when winterizing your home. Many however don’t check for radon gas -- a silent, invisible, tasteless, and odorless gas.
The Environmental Protection Agency lists Davidson County as an area having a high potential for elevated radon levels. Tests conducted over the past several years by the Metro Health Department and others show wide ranging levels of radon among homes in all areas of the county.
According to the Metro Health Department, approximately 40 percent of the 4,152 homes tested in Davidson County showed elevated radon levels.
Pollution Control officials at the Metro Health Department say the threat of radon exposure increases during the winter months when the ventilation in a home is reduced. Doors and storm windows are more likely to be closed to keep out the cold, which allows radon to reach or go above the EPA’s action level of 4 picocuries per liter.
The American Lung Association and the American Medical Association have identified radon as a leading cause of lung cancer. The United States Surgeon General identified radon as the second leading cause of lung cancer. Approximately 14,000 lung cancer deaths that occur each year in the United States are due to radon exposure.
Radon is a radioactive gas, which is generated from the natural decay of uranium found in soil. It enters a home through cracks in floors and walls, gaps in suspended floors and around pipes, cavities inside walls, and through construction joints.
The Metro Health Department recommends that everyone in the area should test their home with an EPA approved radon test kit. The Metro Health Department’s Pollution Control Division offers an approved test kit for $5.00 (price includes laboratory analysis and results).
Reducing elevated levels of radon to make a home safe can be easy and not too expensive. The Metro Health Department recommends contacting a certified mitigator/contractor if tests show elevated levels of radon.
Residents of Davidson County may obtain a radon test kit by contacting the Metro Health Department’s Pollution Control Division at (615) 340-5653.