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Doctors warn residents about the dangers of radon gas

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Posted at 8:59 PM, Dec 29, 2022

BALTIMORE — Health officials are urging people to get their homes tested for radon gas. The deadly fume is often found in homes during the winter months.

Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Each year it causes over 21,000 lung cancer deaths.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. It's often found at the lowest level of homes during the winter. This is because cold temperatures increase the pressure within the home, causing more air to be drawn in from the ground, which increases the risk of radon entering the home.

"In the ground, we have certain elements like uranium and overtime, it breaks down, ultimately, to create radon gas. So if you live in a home over top of soil, it could seep through and get into your house, and that's where the biggest concern is because you can't detect it, and the health consequences are ultimately cancer," said Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, MD, MHS Johns Hopkins Medicine.

It's crucial to check your homes for this gas. The radon levels in Maryland are above average.

Some high-risk counties include Baltimore, Howard, and Montgomery County.

People can buy an inexpensive radon test kit at any home improvement store. Depending on which test is purchased, place the sampler in a central room on the lowest level the home. Let it be exposed for two days and ship it off to the lab, but if you're doing all the testing yourself, just note levels of four or higher are considered dangerous.

"You should reevaluate, especially during colder weather, those levels tend to rise a little bit. That's why so much emphasis is being put on right now. And so what I will say is, evaluate more than once," said Galiatsatos.

If radon is detected in a home, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends contacting a qualified professional to install a radon reduction, also known as, a radon mitigation system if your home radon level is at or above 4 pCi/L of air.

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