Governor Terry Branstad will formally declare January as "Radon Action Month" in Iowa with a proclamation signing today.
Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that causes no immediate health symptoms, but long-term exposures may cause lung cancer. It comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil. Simple test kits can reveal the amount of radon in any building. Buildings with high levels can usually be fixed with simple and affordable venting techniques.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, one in 15 homes across the U.S and five out of seven homes in Iowa have an elevated radon level.
Radon gas seeps into a house the same way air or other soil gases enter: 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. Radon has been detected in new and old homes, and in homes with or without basements.
Test kits are simple to use and typically cost less than $20. To order a test kit or learn additional information about radon, call the American Lung Association at 800-383-5992. Licensed measurement and mitigation specialists are listed at www.idph.state.ia.us/eh/radon.asp.