By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
How to detect radon in your home
Keep Liberty Beautiful
Placeholder Image
Having worked for various branches of state or local governments for most of my career, I have gone to a lot of meetings in my lifetime. As a matter of fact, when I get notice of a meeting I need to attend, I nearly cringe at times.
It can be hard to believe that I will come away from a state meeting with substantial and valuable information. However, I have to admit that the Department of Community Affairs and Keep Georgia Beautiful meetings continue to pleasantly surprise me. I would like to share some information I received at a KGB meeting this week.
I have heard bits and pieces about radon for several years now, but I never really paid attention to concerns about it. I recently received this information from a presentation on the health risks associated with radon. I also learned about ways you can protect your home and family.
Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas.
You can’t see radon. And you can’t smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home. Radon is estimated to cause several thousand deaths each year. That’s because when you breathe air containing high levels of radon, you can get lung cancer. In fact, the surgeon general has warned that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.
Radon can be found all over the United States. It comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rocks and water. It gets into the air we breathe. It can get into any type of building — homes, offices and schools — and result in a high indoor radon level. But you and your family are most likely to be exposed at home, where you spend most of your time.
Any home may have a radon problem. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.
Radon from soil gas is most common, but occasionally, radon enters the home through well water. In some homes, the building materials themselves can give off radon. However, building materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves.
Nearly one out of every 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have elevated radon levels. Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in Georgia. The heaviest concentrations in Georgia appear to be in the northern part of the state.
While radon problems may be more common in some areas, any home may have a problem. The only way to know about your home is to test it, which is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk.
The EPA and the surgeon general recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. The EPA also recommends testing in schools. Testing is inexpensive and easy. It only takes a few minutes to set up a kit.
The amount of radon in the air is measured in “pico curies per liter of air,” or “pCi/L.” Levels higher than four are considered high. There are many low-cost “do-it-yourself” radon test kits you can get through the mail and in hardware stores. Kits are also available online through the EPA’s  Web site,
You can also hire a qualified tester to come into your home. There is a list of qualified testers on the EPA Web site.
You can fix a radon problem. Radon-reduction systems work and they are not too costly. Some radon-reduction systems can reduce levels in your home by up to 99 percent. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels. Installation of a system can range from $800 to $2,500.
New homes can be built with radon-resistant features. When installed properly and completely, these simple and inexpensive techniques can help reduce indoor radon levels. In addition, installing them at the time of construction makes it easier and less expensive
Radon can also be a problem in schools and workplaces. Contact the state radon office through the EPA Web site about radon concerns regarding schools, day cares, childcare facilities and workplaces.
I got a test kit from the EPA and I am testing our home this week. In a couple of days I will mail the kit back to be analyzed and I will receive the test results. More than likely, the results will be fine, but better safe than sorry.
I hope you will consider testing your home, too — particularly if you smoke. Radon is a potential health risk than can be resolved, but only if you know it exists.

KLCB announcements that you can use to help save the environment:
• Win-dex Attractive Business Awards nominations for this quarter will be accepted until Sept. 30. Call 368-4888 or 368-4445 or e-mail for a nomination form.
• Oct. 24: The annual Rivers Alive Cleanups in Liberty County.
• Tell the world how you really feel about litter. Get your free litter car decal by calling 368-4888 or e-mailing
• Keep your “butts” off the streets and sidewalks! Cigarette litter needs to be disposed of properly. For a free pocket ashtray, call 368-4888.

For more information on Keep Liberty County Beautiful programs, contact Swida at 368-4888 or
Sign up for our e-newsletters