While this is the time of year we start to button up our homes for winter, it’s also time to check for a silent invader. It’s National Radon Action Week, and Cindy Shubatt with the Iowa Air Coalition says all parts of Iowa have the potential to contain Radon gas. She says glaciers pulled down lots of bedrock and pulverized it into the Iowa soil. The bedrock contains lots of uranium, which over the years breaks down into the radon gas. Shubatt, who works in the Linn County Health Department, says the radon gas gets into your home silently. She says radon becomes airborne and moves through the soil, and you can’t smell it or see it and it can only be found with radon test kits. Shubatt says radon can lead to lung cancer, and you might not realize it’s happening. She says it’s not like carbon-monoxide, as it doesn’t cause and immediate poisoning. She says you breath it into your lungs and it puts off a radioactive alpha particle and that eventually causes lung cancer. Shubatt says you should check your home to be sure radon isn’t present. She says you can get a test kit from a variety of different health departments across the state. If your health department doesn’t have the kits, she says you can call Linn County and get one mailed for five dollars. You can call 800-206-7818 to order a kit. Shubatt says the test is relatively simple. She says you start with the short-term test kit that can sit for three to seven days to see what types of radon levels you’re dealing with. She says you would then move to a long-term kit. Figures show about 21-thousand deaths occur annually nationwide from lung cancers due to radon.
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