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Front Page » October 16, 2007 » Local News » Public health district supplies radon detectors to local ...
Published 2,562 days ago

Public health district supplies radon detectors to local families


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By C.J. MCMANUS
Sun Advocate reporter


The United States Environmental Protection Agency indicates that there are two ways to protect families from radon.

The difficult way is to teach families to hold their breath. The easy way is to test homes for the dangerous gas.

Free short-term radon detectors are available from the Southeastern Utah Health District.

"With every breath, your family could be exposing themselves to a radioactive gas called radon," emphasized the EPA's website. " It is impossible to see, smell or taste and could be accumulating to unsafe levels in your home right now."

The EPA reported that radon is found at high levels in every state in America. It seeps into the home from the surrounding soil, and sometimes contaminates well water.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Only cigarette smoking causes more lung cancer deaths.

The gas has become such a threat that the EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General's Office have recommended that all private residences be tested for radon.

"Your families risk of developing lung cancer from radon depends on the average annual level of radon in the home and the amount of time spent near the substance. The longer exposure, the greater the risk," stated the EPA website.

According to the EPA radon has a much greater cancer risk factor for smokers.

"Luckily, radon is easy and inexpensive to detect. Homes with high levels can be fixed. But it's up to you to find out whether radon is a problem in your house. Millions of people have tested their homes already," pointed out EPA officials.

Short-term testing takes from a few days to several months to complete. The most common devices on the market are charcoal canisters, electret ion detectors and alpha track detectors.

Short-term tests should be conducted in the lowest living area of the home, with doors and windows shut,during the cooler months of the year, according to the EPA.

At the local public health department, the contact person for radon detection is Tami Velasquez or Claron Bjork.

The pair will provide Carbon and Emery County residents with short-term detectors.

While radon is dangerous, common myths about the gas addressed by the EPA include:

•Myth - Scientists are not sure that radon really is a problem.

Fact - Although some scientists dispute the precise number of deaths due to radon, all the major health organizations agree with estimates that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths every year. This is especially true among smokers, since the risk to smokers is much greater than non-smokers.

•Myth - Radon testing is difficult, time consuming and expensive.

Fact - Radon testing is easy. It can be done alone and takes only a small amount of time.

•Myth: Radon testing devices are not reliable and are difficult to find.

Fact - Reliable testing devices are available locally from the health district in Price as well as from qualified radon testing companies.

•Myth - Homes with radon problems can't be fixed.

Facts - There are simple solutions to radon problems in homes.

Hundreds of thousands of homeowners have already fixed radon problems in private residences.

Radon levels can be readily lowered for $800 to $2,500, with an average cost of $1,200 according to the EPA. The federal agency recommends calling the state radon office for official prices.

•Myth - Radon is only a problem in certain parts of the country.

Fact - High radon levels have been found in every state. Radon problems do vary from area to area, but the only way to know the radon level in a given area is to test.

For additional information, residents in the Castle Valley region may contact the local health department in Price at 637-3671.

Residents may also visit the department's offices at 28 South Main Street in Price.



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