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New Research Data Unveils Radon Hot Spots Throughout Oregon

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Parts of Oregon have seen a spike in radon hot spots recently. New data has indicated that the radioactive gas is present in places like Banks and North Plains in Oregon.

Radon gas occurs naturally, usually existing underground in rocks. When uranium decays, it results in radon gas.

One of the most dangerous things about radon is that it has no taste, smell, or visible appearance. This makes it very easy for radon build-up in homes without being detected for long periods of time.

Officials have determined that certain areas of Oregon are at particularly high risk for radon gas. This includes:

  • Clatskanie
  • Columbia City
  • Dundee
  • Scappoose
  • Banks
  • North Plains
  • Boring
  • Parkdale
  • Milton-Freewater
  • And La Grand

Alarmingly, even parts of Portland are at risk of exposure.

Many homes in Oregon have radon mitigation systems, but they are far from foolproof. A passive system of mitigation that people might have in their home can reduce indoor radon levels by more than 50%, but sometimes that is not enough. Still, it is a good idea to have a passive mitigation system, especially if you are in a potentially impacted area.

These days, people are plenty of environmental worries to be concerned about. People even worry about the relatively small — 20 to 45 milligrams — of caffeine in the average cup of green tea. But radon is a far more dire concern because of its potential health impacts.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is advising Oregon residents to test their homes to ensure they are not being exposed to radon. Even a small amount can have a negative health impact on people with compromised immune systems. Meanwhile, radon test kits are relatively cheap, at $15 to $25 per kit.

According to the CDC, small radon particles can get stuck in your lungs once the gas enters your home. This raises the risk of lung cancer, though that may not be apparent until many years later. In fact, right after smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. This is harder to detect than simply going to the dentist for a sore tooth. The CDC advises that cigarette smokers are at particularly high risk if they are also breathing in radon.

There are some simple ways to protect yourself and your family from exposure to radon. First and foremost, of course, is to get a test kit and use it to test your home for radon. You can also test places like your office. The test should only take a few minutes, though you can also do a long-term test that takes 90 days but is more thorough.

If you do find radon in your home, you should fix your home. You may need to hire a contractor to make these fixes. Specifically, you can hire a qualified radon mitigation contractor.

The contractor will probably conduct some soil tests to find out how much radon is below your home. They might also perform some diagnostic tests and try to determine how airflow and pipes affect the movement of the radon gas.

The exact nature of the fix for your home will depend on the type of foundation you have. Whether you have a basement, slab-on-grade or crawlspace can drastically change what type of fix is appropriate for your residence. The contractor will be able to determine the best course of action for radon mitigation in your home.

You should feel empowered to check the contractors’ work, perhaps by running more radon tests of your own after the work is completed. You should also check your water to ensure there is no radon coming in that way, either.

Radon is a serious threat. However, if you are in a radon-prone area, you don’t need to panic. Conduct your own tests and, if necessary, hire a contractor to help with mitigation and repairs for your home.

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