Radon awareness month: Test your home for the cancer causing gas - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Radon awareness month: Test your home for the cancer causing gas

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AKRON, Iowa (KTIV) -

Radon, it's a radioactive gas that comes from the soil. The American Lung Association said it's the number one cause for lung cancer in non-smokers. A family physician at Mercy Medical Clinic said radon is odorless, tasteless, colorless and can be found anywhere, especially in your home.

"It doesn't have anything to do with how old your home is or how new it is. It's just how that soil is, how compact that soil is under your home," said Dr. Cynthia Wolff. "So it is a major problem and it's one that we just haven't understood or realized before."

Dr. Cynthia Wolff said in America, 1/15 homes have levels of radon that are considered dangerous. In Iowa alone, that number raises to 7/10 homes. Wolff said, in the Siouxland area nearly 9/10 homes have dangerous radon levels.

"All those hills here and in this part of the country," said Dr. Wolff. "That holds the radon differently and allows it to leach out."

How do you know if radon is in your home? Dr. Wolff said testing the air is the only way to find out.

"So the idea is just getting people to test," said Dr. Wolff. "Just getting people to test makes such a big difference, because if you know then you can do something about it."

If the test results show your home has dangerous levels of radon, there's something that can be done. It's called mitigation.

"There are certified mitigators who actually are trained the right way to get it out," said Dr. Wolff. "But, usually it requires a little pipe that goes up through the roof from your foundation, and with a little blower that makes negative pressure that sucks that radon right back out to the air where it can be decreased."

Once you lower the level of the radon in your home, you lower your risk of radon causing lung cancer. Experts said testing the levels of radon in your home is easy and inexpensive.

To get a test, you can go to your county's health department or call 1-800-383-5992.

Test kits can also be ordered online by visiting www.healthhouse.org/iowa.cfm.

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