With winter’s cold and COVID-19 social distancing keeping more Alaskans cooped up indoors, it’s an appropriate time to make sure your home is safe from the hazards of radon.
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the earth, seeps up through cracks in the ground and into buildings, and may become concentrated in your home.
Breathing this odorless, colorless gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, and may cause lung cancer within five to 30 years.
“We encourage all Alaskans to test their homes for radon, as this is the only way to know for sure if you or your family are being exposed to this hazard,” said Jennifer Athey, a geologist with the Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS).
Free radon testing kits are available from DGGS through January.
To request a kit, contact Sam Knapp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907-451-5013.
Test results will not only tell you if your home is safe, but they will also help update and strengthen a map documenting the presence and concentration of radon around the state. That map is available at: https://maps.dggs.alaska.gov/radon/. “Although testing for radon is the first critical step, Alaskans need to know what to do once they receive their test results,” Athey said. “The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that homeowners repair their homes if their test results show concentration at or above certain levels: 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or more. Residents with radon levels between 2 – 4 pCi/L should also consider fixing their homes.”DGGS and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Cooperative Extension Service recently published two free circulars to help Alaskans decide when and how to mitigate for radon:
•“Understanding Your Radon Test Results” contains a decision tree and information to help guide homeowners, and is available at: https://doi.org/10.14509/30467. •“Mitigating Radon Levels at Home” provides more in-depth information for fixing your home, and is available at: https://doi.org/10.14509/30474. Answers to questions about radon, and technical assistance about testing and repairs, are available at the Alaska Radon Hotline: 800-478-8324. CONTACT: Jennifer Athey , DGGS at 907-451-5028 or email@example.com