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Radon mitigation (WHO-HD)
Radon mitigation (WHO-HD)

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Radon is an issue in Iowa. The state ranks among the highest in the nation for elevated radon levels. The trouble with correcting the problem is that it’s hard to detect.

“You cannot see, smell, or taste radon,” said Kelly Foley, AmeriServ Radon Mitigation of Iowa. “The only way to know the level in your home is to get your home tested.”

In Iowa, as many as 7 out of 10 homes test above the EPA’s safe threshold. If it goes unfixed it can lead to variety of health problems including lung cancer and death.

So what can we do about it?

Mindy Uhle is in charge for Radon education for the Iowa Department of Public Health and answered a few questions we had about Radon.

What is radon?

“A colorless and odorless gas produced from the decay of naturally occurring uranium in the soil. Radon gas enters buildings through cracks in foundation, construction joints, gaps around service pipes or sump pits. All types of homes could have high levels of radon,” said Uhle.

How do you test?

“Testing is easy and inexpensive. Call the Iowa Radon Hotline at 1-800-383-5992 or contact your local public health department to see if they have low-cost kits available. Both Polk and Dallas county health departments in the Metro sell test kits. A short-term test can be done in just a few days,” said Uhle.

What do my results mean?

“Radon results are measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L). If your result is below 4 pCi/L, consider performing a long-term test or re-test in two years. If your result is between 4-8, follow up with another short-term test. If the average of the two tests exceeds 4, consider installing a radon mitigation system. If your result is above 8, follow up with another short-term test. If the two tests are both high, it is highly recommended that a mitigation system is installed,” said Uhle.

What about radon mitigation?

“The most common way to fix a radon problem is a vent pipe and fan that draws air from underneath the foundation and vents it outside the home. The system removes radon from under the foundation and vents it above the roof line. Radon mitigation systems range from $800-$2,500. The average cost is $1,200,” said Uhle.