Homeowners Encouraged to Test for Radon

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. --  Nearly one out of 15 homes nationwide is estimated to have elevated levels of radon. In the Kansas City area, its one out of three homes.

You can't see, smell or taste radon but it's the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. It's not something you would notice by looking around a home.

The Environmental Protection Agency calls radon a dangerous threat to our health. It's possible to avoid radon.
You can buy a kit for $10 at most hardware stores.

"You get two bottles in the kit and some instructions," said Bryan Tucker with Westlake Ace Hardware. "You take the bottles you want to open the caps, take them to the lowest part of your house possible that you can, leave them uncapped in the closed room for about 24 hours then you cap them.  There's a service you send them into and they test."

The service sends you the results. The goal is to stay below at 4.0 reading and there's a good reason why.

"The exposure to high radon will cause lung cancer," said Travis Siegfried with Certified Radon. "It's a class A carcinogen.

There are no immediate symptoms but it kills more than 21,000 people a year in the U.S. Your risk may be higher in the Kansas City area.

"Radon comes from uranium which is a rock in our soil and we have a high concentration geographically in our area," Siegfried said.

A Parkville home had a high enough radon level that the home owner is installing a radon ventilation system to push out the gas. He found out about it when the people who plan to buy the house tested for it.

"I usually encourage the buyer to test for radon just like they would a termite test and like they would a whole home inspection," said Ron Henderson with Keller Williams Realty.

Ventilation systems to fix the radon problem can cost between $700 and $1,200. Since radon can enter your home through openings in your foundation, holes or pipes, the EPA says the est is important. It can also save lives.

The EPA is pushing all homeowners to rest for radon during the month of January.

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