SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– One in four homes in Springfield test positive for the presence of radon.
Radon is a tasteless, odorless and colorless gas. Exposure to the gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
“Radon only does one thing: it’s a carcinogen, it causes lung cancer,” said Steve Mirowski of Mirowski Inspections.
Mirowski says this is one reason January is designated as Radon Awareness Month.
“The first step is to find out what the radon level is in your house,” said Mirowski. “The best time to find out if your home’s radon level is high is when you buy your house…”
Unfortunately, Mirowski says he’s seen homeowners find out years later that they’ve been exposing themselves and their families to the gas.
“That’s happened a couple times when the levels were quite high,” said Mirowski. “It’s really sad because they’ve raised their kids in the house…they’ve done things to take care of their own health.”
Mirowski says it’s relatively inexpensive to mitigate your home, should it present high levels of radon.
“They’ll come in and they’ll put in a series of pipes and a fan and it’ll actually depressurize the air beneath the house,” said Mirowski. “This removes the radon gas and evacuates it above the roofline.”
The Environmental Protection Agency says radon levels above a 4.0 are harmful to your health.
“When you’re exposed to the radon gas, it enters your lungs and then it causes DNA damage over time,” said Mercy Health Pulmonologist Dr. Sadaf Sohrab.
Research shows reducing radon exposure significantly reduces lung cancer risk.
“It can take five to ten years for you to develop lung cancer,” Sohrab said. “What you can test though, is your home or your workplace. It’s recommended that everyone should check radon levels in their house.”