Radon Awareness Week is October 17-21, 2011
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), nearly 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon-related, and exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Radon is a serious health issue, which is why the EPA designates every third week in October as “National Radon Awareness Week”
to educate homeowners about the harmful effects of radon.
Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless, and colorless gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. Because radon is a gas, it can enter homes and buildings through openings or cracks in the foundation. The radon gas breaks down into radioactive solids that can attach to dust particles in the air, and can be inhaled. The EPA asserts that for most people, the greatest exposure to radon is in their homes — especially in rooms that are below grade (such as basements), rooms that are in contact with the ground and those rooms immediately above them.
According to the Building Science experts at CertainTeed Corporation, North America’s largest building product manufacturer, it is important that all homes are tested for radon regardless of where the home is located, the age of the home or foundation type. Homeowners can follow the tips below to evaluate the potential for radon exposure, and take steps to protect their homes and families from the many dangers of radon:
- Test your home. The EPA recommends maximum home radon levels do not exceed 4 pCi/L. The National Radon Program Services at Kansas State University sells discounted tests at http://sosradon.org/test-kits. You can also contact your state radon representative at http://www.epa.gov/radon/whereyoulive.html to find out about low-cost or free kits.
- Bring in an expert. Lowering high radon levels requires technical knowledge and special skills. Use a qualified contractor who is trained to fix radon problems to help you pick the right treatment method.
- Look for ways to reduce radon. When undertaking new construction and renovation projects, look for products that can help reduce your home’s exposure to radon. For example, CertainTeed’s Form-A-Drain® is a patented three-in-one concrete footing form system and foundation drainage system that acts as the sub-slab perimeter component of a radon reduction system. Form-A-Drain collects groundwater through multiple side vents and transports it to a sump pit or a drainage pipe. It also collects Radon gas for safe removal through a separate vent pipe.
- Retest upon finishing any major renovation. Prior to initiating any major structural renovation, such as converting an unfinished basement area into a living space, it is critical to test the area for radon before the project gets underway. Since major renovations can impact radon levels, always test again after work is completed.
Images, product samples and industry comment are available upon request. To speak to an expert, contact Mike Loughery of CertainTeed Corporation at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 610-341-7328.About CertainTeed
Through the responsible development of innovative and sustainable building products, CertainTeed, headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa., has helped shape the building products industry for more than 100 years. Founded in 1904 as General Roofing Manufacturing Company, the firm's slogan "Quality Made Certain, Satisfaction Guaranteed," quickly inspired the name CertainTeed. Today, CertainTeed® is North America’s leading brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, fence, decking, railing, trim, foundations, pipe, insulation, gypsum, ceilings and access covers.
A subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building products company, CertainTeed and its affiliates have more than 6,000 employees and more than 65 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada. Recognized as a 2009 and 2010 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, CertainTeed earned the 2011 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award, the highest level of recognition for outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. The group had total sales of approximately $3 billion in 2010. www.certainteed.com