Newspaper Archive of
The Ortonville Independent
Ortonville, Minnesota
Lyft
January 18, 2011     The Ortonville Independent
PAGE 8     (8 of 16 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
 
PAGE 8     (8 of 16 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
January 18, 2011
 

Newspaper Archive of The Ortonville Independent produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.




It could be a matte1"of life oi death! IT&apos;S TIME FOR HOM RAD()N TESTING[ It's time for a nationwide effort to encourage Americans to reduce their health risks from this invisible, deadly gas. In support of this effort, the Minnesota Safety Council suggests all Minnesotans test their homes and, if necessary, take steps to reduce radon levels. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the nation and the number one cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is responsible for thousands of deaths annually. Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the soil. The gas moves through the soil and finds openings around pumps, pipes and drains. In an EPA study of 42 states, Minnesota ranked fourth highest in percentage of homes above the EPA's recommended action guideline. The Minnesota Department of Health estimates that one in three Minnesota homes may have radon levels above the recommended action level. Ill I FACTS ABOUT RADON What is radon? Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas which comes from the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of radium, which is itself a decay product of uranium. Uranium and radium are both common elements in the soil. Where is radon found? The major source of high levels of radon in homes is soil surrounding the house, particularly soil containing uranium, granite, shale, phosphate and pitchblende Radon gas from the soil can enter a home or building through dirt floors, hollow-block walls, cracks in the foundation floor and walls, and openings around floor drains, pipes and sump pumps. Radon is more concentrated at lower levels, like basements, ground floors and first floors. Radon problems have been identified in every state, and tests are being conducted around the country to identify the extent and magnitude of the problem. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that as many as one in 15 homes in the U.S. have elevated radon levels. In an EPA study of 42 states, Minnesota ranked fourth highest in percentage of homes above the EPA's recommended action guideline. Minnesota health officials estimate that one in three homes in the state may have radon levels above the action guideline. Any home may have a radon problem. The National Safety Council and the Environmental Protection Agency recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. Testing in schools is also recommended, What are the health effects of radon? Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, causing thousands of deaths each year in the United States. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. As radon decays and is inhaled into the lungs, its byproducts release energy that can damage sensitive lung tissue and lead to lung cancer. How is radon measured? Radon is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. The three most common commercially available test kits are charcoal canisters, alpha track detectors, and electrets. EPA recommends placing the test kit in the lowest lived-in level in a home where it is left to gather a reading; after a few days (for charcoal canisters and electrets) or months (for alpha track detectors and electrets), the test kit is simply returned to the laboratory for results. If results indicate a high radon level, a second test should be conducted to verify results. What can be done about radon? A variety of methods are used to reduce indoor radon levels, from sealing cracks in floors and walls to changing the flow of air into the home. If test results indicate a radon problem, a state certified and/or EPA-qualified contractor who specializes in reducing radon levels should be consulted. $'0UR COMPLIANCE COULD How is radon measured and what levels are "too high"? - Radon is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. - No level of radon is considered absolutely safe. - The average indoor radon level is about 1.3 pCi/L. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that action be taken to reduce radon levels if the annual average is 4 pCi/L or higher. How do you test for radon? - Testing for radon is simple and takes only a few minutes of your time. - Radon test kits are available through the mail. Inexpensive ($5) short-term radon test kits which meet EPA requirements can be ordered through Ortonville's Countryside Public Health office, ph. 1-866-277-5587 or (320) 839-6135. For more information contact the Minnesota Safety Council at 800-952-5539 or 651-291-9150. - Radon test kits are placed in the lowest lived-in level of the home and left for the spec- ified period of time. After that time, the kit is sent to the laboratory for analysis. - There are two common commercially available types of radon test iitS! .... I. . Short-term tests remain in your home for two days to 90 days. Charcoal canisters and electret detectors are the most commonly used for short-term testing. Because radon levels vary from day to day and season to season, a short-term test is less likely than a long-term test to tell your year-round average radon level. If the result of a short-term test is 4pCi/L or higher, take a follow-up test to verify results before fixing your home. Long-term tests remain in your home for more than 90 days. Alpha track and electret detectors are the most commonly used for this type of testing. A long-term test will give you a reading that is more likely to tell you your home's year- round average radon level than a short-term test. There are also qualified contractors who can conduct radon tests. Choose a radon contractor who is EPA-listed. Are the tests reliable? - EPA conducts the Radon Measurement Proficiency" (RMP) program to evaluate companies that make and analyze test kits. Look for a test kit from a company that has successfully completed the RMP program, (typically indicated by the statement "Meets EPA requirements"). - Lists of qualified radon testing companies and contractors can be obtained from the Minnesota Safety Council at 800-952-5539 or 651-291-9150. How long does it take to get the results? - The length of time it takes to get results varies with the laboratory, but generally, you can expect results within a few weeks. Agralite Electric Cooperative 320 East Hwy. 12 Benson, MN Phone 320-843-4150 A Touchstone Energy Partner .: : i ;:  Graceville Health Center is now '!ii:.i  IY# lIT    Essentia Health Gracevflle ::ilii::iiii iil:  "tI:.*  THE ESSENCE OF ESSENTIA IS YOU. You already know us. We're the doctors, nurses and professionals who know you by name. Our name has changed,  Essentia Health but our commitment to you -r Graceville is only growing stronger. Here with you THIS MESSAGE PRESE$ PUBLIC HEALTH AND PUI I | 000to.ville He00&h .....  ....... .,, ,D::i.,: : ,<:=.&, e .................. X,,,,;d.' ' PL,d,,,,,]'" ' '.'"' .......... ...-" .)A[l!'f  f I ........ i],:.:iil ...... ".(1i;,.,. Nelson Electri Brent Nelson Ortonville, Minnesota