Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I Had No Idea!
I am in the process of ratcheting up the child-proofing in this house. My little guy is fearless and dangerous! He is always climbing and standing on furniture. My nerves can't take much more so I have been moving out toys that he uses for stepping stools.
Anyway, I just got an email from parents.com about child-proofing you house. It mentioned something I had never heard of and had no idea I should have asked our contractor about. Have you ever heard of testing for Radon? Apparently radon is a naturally released radioactive gas. It is released when uranium breaks down in the soil, rocks and water. If your house has 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) then your family is being exposed to dangerous amounts of radon. And high amounts of radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.
Here is the information from parents.com
Test for Radon
Approximately one in 15 homes (including apartments) has a high level of radon, a radioactive gas released when uranium naturally breaks down in soil, rocks, and water. Radon is believed to be the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, but because you can't see or smell it, you won't know if you're being exposed without testing for it. Fortunately, an inexpensive test kit that's available at home-improvement stores will be reliable in this case: Leave it out for as long as the directions recommend, then promptly return it for analysis. The EPA considers a reading of 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) or greater to be unsafe. If your levels are high, you'll need to have a certified radon-mitigation contractor install a piping system to vent the gas out from under your home. The EPA even recommends that you consider doing this if your level is higher than 2 pCi/L. Contact your state radon office for more information at epa.gov/iaq/whereyoulive.html. If you're building a new home, make sure your contractor uses radon-resistant construction techniques, and request a radon test as part of the inspection when purchasing a home. If yours tests negative, retest every two years or after renovations, says Elizabeth Blackburn, of the EPA's Office of Children's Health Protection and Environmental Education."