MILWAUKEE -- The Environmental Protection Agency says radon is dangerous, and families have to be aware, so January has been named the National Radon Action Month. So, what is radon, and what kind of harm can it do?
Radon is an odorless gas that is created when uranium is broken down, and unfortunately, you can't see it, in addition to not being able to smell it. It's the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Paul Nicholson owns Radon Measurement and Elimination Services. For 13 years, he says he's been trying to save lives, one family at a time. "When you look at mortality rates in the United States, (there are) 25,000 deaths from radon-induced lung cancer," Nicholson said.
Many people have heard of someone dying from lung cancer, even though they've never smoked. That's why it is so important to make sure every building has been tested for radon.
To test for radon in your home, you can contact the city or county health department. The DNR also has a radon test you can do yourself for less than $30.
If the radon in your home tests high, you'll need to call a mitigation company like Nicholson's to come seal your foundation, and essentially create a vaccuum seal where radon will rise through a pipe that is vented outside. "The fan essentially runs all the time, to keep up with the Earth gas that comes in all the time, and by EPA protocol, it has to vent 10 feet off the ground," Nicholson said.
You can find a certified mitigation contractor by CLICKING HERE to visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services radon information website. The price for these radon removal systems can vary, depending on your home. Nicholson's average charge is under $1,000.
For more information on radon: CLICK HERE to visit the EPA's Citizen's Guide to Radon.
For additional details on radon levels in Wisconsin, and to see levels by county, CLICK HERE.