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Radon remains an area danger

We’re right in the middle of National Radon Action Month, and it’s a good time to remember that homeowners in our area should have their homes tested for the radioactive gas and take steps to reduce the risk if elevated levels are detected.

Radon is colorless and odorless and is produced when uranium breaks down. It can enter your homes in many ways, including through cracks in a home’s foundation, windows and other joints.

Exposure to the gas can prove deadly — it’s the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer overall, right behind smoking.

Dangers associated with the gas are real, especially for residents of the Tri-State Area. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, counties in our region sit in the middle of a zone where predicted average indoor screening levels are greater than 4 picocuries per liter of air. And when readings reach that level, the EPA recommends you take action to fix your home.

Included in that zone are Jefferson, Harrison, Carroll, Belmont and Columbiana counties in Ohio; Hancock, Brooke and Ohio counties in West Virginia; and Beaver and Allegheny counties in Pennsylvania.

Homes should be tested for radon every two years or after any renovations are made, officials say. That includes the installation of windows, exterior doors, insulation, a roof or a furnace or air conditioner.

In addition to the self-test kits, homes can be evaluated by a licensed radon tester.

Indoor air quality is an important concern, especially in our homes, where we spend a large portion of our time.

Testing for radon, and following through with taking action to mitigate the risk, are important steps toward making our homes healthier places to live and raise our families.

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