(Glenwood) January is Radon Action Month.
Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that causes no immediate health symptoms, but long-term exposures can cause lung cancer. Mike Sukup, Environmental Specialist with Mills County Public Health, says radon comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil.
“Radon is found all over the United States, some places have it more than others, Iowa is unfortunately one of the zone one areas where the average radon level is over 8 picocuries per liter, and the safe threshold is considered to be 4 picocuries per liter,” explained Sukup.
Radon gas seeps into a house from the soil around and under the home; through cracks in the foundation, floor or walls; through hollow-block walls; and through openings around floor drains, pipes and sump pumps.
Sukup said radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, causing around 21,000 deaths per year.
“Radon causes cancer by getting into your lungs when you breathe it or it shoots through the air and shoots through your body and injures the DNR in your lung tissue. As that DNA divides and it passes that injury along, that creates your lung cancer,” said Sukup.
Sukup said simple test kits can reveal the amount of radon in any building and are available for free to Mills County residents through Mills County Public Health. Test kits can also be purchased in most hardware stores or through the American Lung Association.
For more information call 712-527-9699.