Sharayu B. Sawant, MD is a board certified family physician with 22 years of experience. Her special clinical interests include women’s health, adolescent health, and the management of chronic disease in adults including diabetes and hypertension. She is currently accepting new patients at Inova Primary Care – Purcellville.
Does your home have radon? Get the facts for your family’s safety
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated January as National Radon Action Month. The EPA is urging families to proactively test their homes for radon.
Radon is a colorless, odorless and invisible radioactive gas. It is naturally released from the decay of the uranium, thorium and radium in rocks and soil. It can enter homes through small cracks and holes in the foundation, where it becomes trapped and accumulates in the air. The EPA estimates that one in every 15 homes in the U.S. is affected by high levels of radon. When inhaled, radon can damage the lungs and ultimately cause lung cancer.
In fact, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. It is estimated to cause approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths yearly. That equates to more annual deaths than other household dangers including falls, fires and drowning. Exposure to both radon gas and cigarette smoke yields the greatest risk of lung cancer than exposure to either factor alone.
How can we reduce our risk of exposure to radon?
Homeowners can test their homes with a simple kit available in most home and hardware stores. A home kit is an easy way to see if you have dangerous levels of radon exposure. Experts recommend that you check your home’s radon levels twice per year because of the dangers of radon exposure. If you find that your home has high radon levels, radon reduction repairs can be done with the help of a licensed contractor.
I’d like to test my home for radon. How do I start?
For more information about how to test your home or where to find a test kit, call the National Radon Hotline at 1-800-SOS-RADON (1-800-767-7236). For more information, visit the EPA and CDC websites.