Consumer Reports is a trusted guide for consumers the world over who rely on the fact that this publisher offers no advertising and maintains an objective eye in their reviews and fact-finding. In their own words: “At Consumer Reports, our reviews are backed by scientists, engineers, journalists, and researchers who work tirelessly to test and rate the products and services you use every day. Not just so that you can buy an appliance or car with confidence, but also to help raise standards for all consumers. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on the support of our members” (CR Oct 2022)
Fair enough, and I will readily admit that I collect the new car issue every year, because, you never know. Cars and products are one thing, and reputation often precedes any new information we seek out. But what about advice on services, health, and how to best maintain it? Last October Consumer Reports wrote an article on the hidden hazards of indoor air pollutants, including radon. I’d like to present some excerpts here, during #RadonActionMonth.
While there is sufficient evidence to write about each of these perceived threats, I’d like to say simply: Dear Reader: while mold is a threat to home and health, radon can kill you. That is a true statement. Radon is silent, invisible and odorless, but if inhaled over a significant amount of time, it can lodge in your lung tissue, and emit radioactive particles that damage cell structure. Once your DNA is mutated, it can end up producing tumors that could be cancerous. And if you happen to be a smoker, the risk for lung cancer from radon rises exponentially. (EPA.gov)
When asked who is at risk, Consumer Reports says: “People who have not had their home tested for radon and those who haven’t taken steps to reduce levels after a positive test.”
Clean Vapor’s own radon expert, Matt Koch, takes it a step further: “All homes have radon. Testing once can provide a false sense of security as the radon levels during the time the test was performed do not necessarily reflect the long-term radon concentrations in a home.”
Consumer Reports says it this way: “Almost 1 in 15 U.S. homes has a RADON level that should be reduced, according to the EPA. Radon is deadly–it is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, causing 21,000 cancer deaths a year in the U.S. The gas enters homes via cracks, holes, sumps, drains, and sometimes well water. It is found in every state, but some parts of the U.S. are more susceptible than others.”
Consumers and homeowners are not powerless to clear the air and protect their health. While exposure from radon is at its worst when the concentrations are high for a long period of time, it’s never too early to test and take action. Mitigation systems for single-occupancy homes range from “$900 to $3,000 for homeowners,” according to Consumer Reports, but here at Clean Vapor we know that multi-family housing construction is outpacing single-family dwellings by 28:1. It’s critically important for community developers to include a radon/vapor intrusion mitigation system for radon, more than ever, because by sheer numbers, the health of so many occupants is at stake.
Koch says: “Inasmuch as prevention goes, cancer from radon is 100% preventable, and more information is better. Electronic radon testing devices are available to the homeowner for less than $200 and can provide good information on the potential health risks from radon in your home. Testing for radon is relatively inexpensive and easy; lung cancer is neither.”
If you would like to know more about radon in general, you can visit the Radon Page on the EPA’s website. Clean Vapor was started in 1985 with a mission to protect human health. We still believe we do that every day. Clean Vapor specializes in solving complex commercial, industrial, and multifamily radon and vapor intrusion issues. We focus on creating safe indoor air for building occupants in both new and existing building construction and use proven design/build methodologies to guarantee successful outcomes.