The Missouri Department for Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) has stated that “31% of homes in Missouri are testing above EPA recommended levels for radon.” Still, Missouri has yet to enact any statutes addressing this dangerous, hidden threat.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers, right behind smoking. In fact, radon is the cause of over 20,000 lung cancer deaths annually; roughly 10% of these victims have never smoked. Smoking, and exposure to second hand smoke, significantly increases the risk of lung cancer when combined with exposure to radon.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains, “When you breathe in radon, radioactive particles from radon gas can get trapped in your lungs. Over time, these radioactive particles increase the risk of lung cancer. It may take years before health problems appear.”
Most people are exposed to radon gas in their homes, which emanates from naturally occurring uranium, thorium or radium decay that is released from rocks, soil and groundwater. Children and the elderly, who are at a higher risk because of lung size or degeneration, are also exposed on a daily basis in community buildings, such as schools and care facilities.
Radon gas is odorless and cannot be seen or tasted. The only way to know if the radon levels in your home or building are higher than is deemed safe by the EPA, is to have the building tested.
The EPA and the Surgeon General both recommend that homes, schools, and commercial buildings be tested for radon on all floors below the third. If levels are determined to be above 4pqu, it is recommended that mitigation measures be taken.
Radon testing and reduction are affordable and easy with a licensed radon inspector and mitigation specialist in your area. In fact, initial testing can be done with inexpensive, DIY testing kits, which are readily available online or at your local hardware store.
Travis Atwell, owner and lead mitigation specialist at The Radon Company says, “If you find that you have a high radon level, it’s not that expensive (to mitigate the problem), and we can guarantee that we’ll be able to get those levels down so that you have a safe living environment for your family.”
According to the Environmental Law Institute, 40 states have enacted statutes addressing radon since 2014. Many of these states require that radon mitigation specialists be certified by the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) to ensure that homes with elevated radon can be fixed in accordance to the ANSI-AARST Soil Gas Mitigation Standards. A number of others require that homes pass inspection for radon when in the process of being sold, and still others require radon testing and mitigation in schools and care facilities.
Unfortunately, Missouri has no such laws on the books. Missouri residents can, and should, reach out to their state representatives to ask that statutes be put into place to protect Missouri citizens from the dangers of radon exposure.