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Pittsburgh Parents and Radon: What you NEED to Know.

Updated: May 31, 2020

Pittsburgh parents, we know your days are filled with running errands, cleaning up after the kids, making sure dinner is ready for the whole family each night, and finding enough time to support the steelers/pens/pirates. But what if you were told that something in your home is slowly affecting the health of you and your kids? We don't want to put another layer of stress on your mind, but that "something" is radon gas, and it is the biggest health risk inside your home.

Although it is serious, taking the proper steps to ensure you and your family are safe, is easy. Below you will find out what radon is, the effects it can have on your family, and how you can easily check it off your to-do list and sleep sound at night knowing that your family is safe from radon gas.

radon in pittsburgh home

Radon is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in the soil. Long story short: radon is everywhere. However, most radon gas escapes into the air and is diluted, and therefore the radon in the air outside is nothing to be too concerned with.

Radon enters your home through cracks in your foundation and is typically the most dense in the lowest level of your home. For most Pittsburgh families, this is the basement. Since radon is an extremely dense gas, it collects in your basement and has a difficult time escaping.

But what does this mean for you and your family? Why would radon, a gas you may have never heard of before, be a big deal?

Effects of Radon Gas:

Radon lungs

When you breathe radon gas into your lungs, radon particles attach themselves to the lining in your lungs and slowly breakdown their cell structure. This increases your chances of lung cancer over time and over increased exposure.

Most people think carbon monoxide, with 480 deaths in the United States annually, is your homes silent killer. Radon claims 21,000 deaths every single year in the United States alone, according to the EPA (environmental protection agency). Making it the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

For children, this deadly gas is even worse. Due to their increase respiratory rates, and smaller lung size, children are even more affected by radon than adults are.

Let's put it into perspective. The EPA recommends you take action to mitigate radon if your home is over 4.0 pCi/L (measurement for density of radon in the air). This level alone, the level that the environmental protection agency says is the level when you should consider taking action, is equivalent to 100 chest X-rays per year. Most hospitals recommend you do not have more than 4 chest X-rays annually.

Imagine if your home tested twice as high as that. Or even if it tested 100 times that high! It may seem a little crazy, but some homes test as high as 500 pCi/Ls or over 100 times the EPA's recommended action level. Fortunately, with the proper mitigation system installed, by radon professionals. These levels can be brought way down to safe conditions.

Pittsburgh Radon. Is My Home in Danger?

pittsburgh radon levels

Pittsburgh radon levels are some of the highest in the country. 40% of homes in Allegheny County have radon levels above the EPA recommended action level of 4.0 pCi/L. Washington County is not much better at 39% of homes. 4 out of 10 homes in the Pittsburgh area have elevated, unsafe radon levels.

Every community is different. For example, Peters township radon levels are right at the EPA action level of 4.0, but Fort Cherry, a community right down the road, has levels on average of 5.7.

As each county is different, so is each home. If your neighbor tested for radon and their results came back low, that doesn't mean your house would as well. Soil conditions, house structure, and other factors, play into your home's radon levels.

The first step in protecting your family is to have a radon professional conduct radon testing in your Pittsburgh home. Radon testing is the only way of accurately knowing if your home has high levels of radon.

After a few days, your radon professional will provide you with information on what to do next. If your home tests high for radon, you may want to consider taking the next step: radon mitigation.

Radon mitigation is the process of removing radon from the home and lowering a home's radon levels down to safer conditions. The process is typically quick and affordable with most radon professionals and can be done in a day or two. If you truly want to keep your family protected from radon gas, radon mitigation is the safest way to do so.

Conclusion: Parents Take the First Step

We know that your loved ones are your top priority. All the running around, caring, and hard work you do for your family is just a few of the ways you show them you care.

Now take the first step in showing you care about their health. If you haven't had your home tested for radon, there is no better time to test than now. With Pittsburgh radon levels as high as they are, why would you risk not knowing if you radon is harming you and your children?

We strive to educate radon to all Pittsburgh communities. Do not end up as a statistic and be a part of one of the 21,000 radon induced lung cancer deaths each year. Protect your family: Test for radon.

Find out more information at our website

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