January is National Radon Action Month. So, what is radon, you ask? Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that is the result of the natural breakdown of uranium in the earth. It seeps into our homes through cracks or permeable materials in our foundations. Radon exists in every state in the country and is estimated to affect as many as 1 in 15 homes and causes approximately 21,000 deaths per year from radon induced lung cancer. Since you can’t see or smell it, the only way to find out if your home has radon is to test, which is easy and inexpensive; test kits can be purchased at your local hardware store. If your house has a radon problem, it can be fixed, which reduces the risk of lung cancer for you and your family. Take action today and encourage your friends and family to do the same!
With HUD’s reach and influence in our nation’s housing, we can play a big role in radon awareness and prevention. In 2013, HUD issued the Office of Multifamily Development Radon Policy. The policy requires radon testing and mitigation for participants in a significant portion of HUD’s multifamily housing mortgage insurance programs and also requires new multifamily construction to be built using radon resistant construction. The Office of Public Housing also issued an Informational Notice on Radon which strongly encourages Public Housing Authorities to proactively plan and complete radon testing and follow-up with mitigation strategies.
Abby is a Healthy Homes Representative in the Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control at HUD’s Denver regional office.