Radon is a radioactive element that causes more than 800 deaths a year in Georgia. Radon gas naturally occurs in Georgia’s granite bedrock and presents a hidden danger as it can be in homes without any warning. Shockingly, radon exposure is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The month of January is National Radon Action Month and the perfect time to protect yourself and your family from radon exposure. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Radon Educator Derek Cooper is working to educate Georgians on this invisible hazard with the university’s Georgia Radon Program. Whether you are buying a new home, or have lived in your home for 10 year, January is a great time to test your home for radon.
“Families have a lot to think about, and I know radon isn’t always at the top of the list,” Cooper said. “The beginning of the year is a good time to take a moment to make sure your family’s home is safe. Testing for radon can save a life, and it’s quick and easy.”
UGA Extension offers a low-cost service for those who need to test their home for radon and can provide resources for those who find high levels of the gas in their home.
There are ways of removing radon from a home, but homeowners won’t know to take action unless they test, Cooper said.
What is radon and where does it come from?
Radon gas is essentially broken-down uranium that is present in Georgia’s granite bedrock. It can seep into homes through their foundations or through well water. A silent killer; it is odorless, tasteless, colorless and virtually undetectable without a test. The gas can collect in homes during the winter months when weatherproofing seals air indoors, but it’s a threat year-round.
New and used (resale) homes of all ages and sizes are vulnerable to radon, but risk varies depending on the area of the state. Homes in the northern half of the state, for instance, are at greater risk of having elevated radon levels due to higher amounts of granite bedrock in that region. About 46.6 percent of homes tested in Haralson County had elevated radon levels — the highest rates in the state.
In addition to Haralson, Barrow, Butts, Douglas, Fannin, Gilmer, Hall, Jackson, Lumpkin, Union and Walton counties are the counties with the highest percentage of elevated radon levels in the state, according to tests conducted through UGA Extension.
How Can I Test My Home?
Visit www.fcs.uga.edu/extension/home-radon to learn more about household radon and to order a $13 radon test, or contact a local UGA Extension Office at 1-800-Ask-UGA1. During January, Georgians get a $3 discount off the $13 test kit price when they enter the code NRAM2019.