House at sunset in Southwest Missouri - radon mitigation concept

Radon Levels in Southwest Missouri: Insights and Safety Tips

When we look closer at radon levels in Southwest Missouri, we find that some areas have higher radon concentrations than others. It is essential for people living in these areas to know because radon can harm our health. 

Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in the soil and can sneak into homes through tiny openings. Once inside, it can build up and increase the risk of lung cancer for people living in the house.

Recent studies and surveys in the region show that radon levels can vary significantly across Southwest Missouri. Some places have low radon levels, while others could have higher levels than what is considered safe. Homeowners need to test their homes for radon. This way, they can find out if they need to take steps to lower radon levels and protect their families.

When we compare radon levels in Southwest Missouri to the national average, we see that some parts of the region have radon levels that are above this average. This doesn’t mean everyone in Southwest Missouri has high radon levels in their homes, but it does highlight the need for awareness and testing. By keeping an eye on radon levels in Southwest Missouri and taking action when needed, residents can make their homes safer and healthier. Testing for radon is easy, and fixing high radon levels is possible, so it’s a good step for everyone to consider.

What is Radon Gas? 

Radon is a gas you can’t see, smell, or taste, and it comes from the natural breaking down of uranium in the soil and rocks. It’s a radioactive gas, which means it can damage the cells in your lungs and lead to lung cancer over time. 

Because it comes from the earth, radon is found all over the world and can get into any type of building, including homes, schools, and offices. The levels can vary greatly from one place to another, even between different homes in the same neighborhood. This is why testing for radon is important, to know if it’s at a high level in your environment and take steps to reduce it.

Everyone, especially in Southwest Missouri, should understand what radon is and how to stay safe from toxic levels. 

Why is Radon Testing Important in Southwest Missouri?

Radon testing is crucial in Southwest Missouri because some areas in this region have higher radon levels due to the natural uranium in the soil. Since you can’t see, smell, or taste radon gas, testing is the only way to know if your home has a radon problem. 

Residents can test their homes for radon in two ways: using a radon testing kit or hiring a professional radon testing service. 

Testing kits are available at local hardware stores or online and can be a short-term test that you leave in your home for a few days or a long-term test that stays there for several months. 

Both types of tests are easy to use and can give you a good idea of the radon levels in your home. For those who prefer a more comprehensive approach, professional radon testing services in Southwest Missouri can provide a detailed analysis and peace of mind, especially if you’re buying or selling a home.

To get accurate results from a radon test, follow these best practices:

  1. Test your home during a typical weather pattern, as extreme weather can affect radon levels.
  2. Place the test kit on the lowest level of your home where you spend time, like a basement or a ground-floor living room, but not in a kitchen or bathroom.
  3. Follow the instructions carefully, including how long to leave the test in place and where to send it afterward for results.

Testing for radon is especially important in areas known for higher radon levels, like parts of Southwest Missouri. By understanding how to test your home and what steps to take based on the results, you can significantly reduce the health risks associated with radon exposure for you and your family.

How to Read Radon Test Results

Reading radon test results is crucial for ensuring the health and safety of your home environment. Once you’ve tested your home for radon, you’ll receive results measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L), indicating the radon concentration in your home. Understanding what these numbers mean is essential for determining the following steps.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a radon level of 4 pCi/L or higher requires action. This level is considered a health risk, and the EPA recommends lowering radon levels in your home to reduce your long-term exposure risk. However, even if your test results show radon levels below 4 pCi/L, it’s still wise to consider mitigation. The EPA suggests that levels between 2 pCi/L and four pCi/L could still pose a risk and that any radon exposure carries some risk of lung cancer.

For radon levels at or above 4 pCi/L, the EPA advises seeking a certified radon mitigation specialist to lower the radon levels in your home through proven mitigation techniques. Remember, the lower the radon level in your home, the lower your family’s risk of lung cancer.

Understanding your radon test results is the first step toward ensuring your home is safe and healthy. If your results are close to or above the EPA’s action level, consider retesting or moving forward with mitigation strategies to reduce radon levels. 

How Can We Reduce Our Radon Levels? 

There are several ways to lower radon levels in Southwest Missouri, and choosing the right method can depend on how high the radon levels are and what kind of home you have.

One common way to reduce radon is by using a vent and pipe system and fan, to extract radon from beneath the house and vent it outside. This is called radon mitigation. Sealing cracks in floors and walls can also help reduce radon levels by stopping radon from entering the home. Each home is different, so what works for one might not be the best for another. 

When picking a radon mitigation system, think about how well it will work, how much it will cost, and if it’s suitable for your type of home. For example, homes with basements might need a different system than those built on a slab. The goal is to lower radon levels as much as possible, so choosing an effective system is crucial.

In Southwest Missouri, there are professionals trained in radon mitigation who can help. Look for certified radon mitigation professionals with the experience and know-how to effectively reduce radon levels. When hiring someone, ask for their credentials, references from past work, and an estimate of costs. It’s also a good idea to get quotes from a few different services to compare.

Remember, reducing radon levels in your home is about keeping your indoor air safe and healthy. With the right approach and a professional’s help, you can significantly lower the radon levels in your Southwest Missouri home.

How to Prevent Dangerous Radon Levels

Preventing dangerous radon levels starts right from the construction phase of a new home, especially in regions known for higher radon concentrations, like Southwest Missouri. Building radon-resistant homes is a proactive way to safeguard against this invisible threat, ensuring that indoor air remains safe for occupants. Here are some tips and considerations for homeowners planning to build in areas prone to radon:

Install a Radon Reduction System: Before pouring the foundation, plan for a radon reduction system. This typically involves laying a layer of gravel under the foundation to allow radon gas to move freely underneath the house. Above this layer, place a plastic sheet to stop the gas from entering the home. Then, install a vent pipe from the gravel layer through the house to the roof, allowing radon gas to be safely vented outside.

Seal and Caulk: During construction, seal all openings, cracks, and crevices in the foundation and walls with caulk to prevent radon and other soil gases from entering the home. This includes sealing gaps around pipes and wires.

Use Radon-Resistant Construction Materials: Opt for less permeable materials to radon. Some concrete sealants and barriers can block radon from seeping through the foundation.

Passive vs. Active Mitigation: Start with a passive radon mitigation system (like the vent pipe setup mentioned). Suppose radon levels are still above the EPA’s recommended action level of 4 pCi/L after the home is completed. In that case, you can easily upgrade to an active system by adding a fan to the vent pipe to increase the suction of radon gas from beneath the home.

Regarding local building codes and standards, many areas with known radon risks, including parts of Southwest Missouri, have adopted building codes that require radon-resistant construction practices. These codes are designed to minimize the risk of radon entry into new homes and make it easier to reduce radon levels if they are detected after construction. Homeowners planning to build should consult with their local building department or a radon mitigation professional to understand their area’s specific requirements and recommendations for radon resistance.

By integrating these radon-resistant construction techniques and adhering to local codes and standards, homeowners in Southwest Missouri and similar regions can significantly reduce the risk of dangerous radon levels in their new homes, ensuring a safer living environment.

Community Resources and Support for Radon Mitigation in Southwest Missouri 

In Southwest Missouri, several community resources and support systems are in place to help residents deal with radon. Local health departments and environmental agencies are vital in offering information on radon, how to test for it, and what steps to take if your levels are high. Many of these agencies also provide low-cost or free radon testing kits to homeowners, making it easier and more affordable to check radon levels in your home.

For instance, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services often has programs in place to distribute radon test kits, especially during National Radon Action Month in January. They also offer a wealth of online resources that explain radon risks, testing procedures, and mitigation strategies. Local county health departments in Southwest Missouri may have additional resources, including lists of certified radon mitigation professionals in the area and guidelines for reducing radon levels in your home.

Community programs, workshops, or events focused on radon awareness and mitigation are common in Southwest Missouri. These events are usually organized to educate the public about the importance of radon testing and mitigation. They can include free radon testing clinics, educational seminars led by experts in the field, and DIY mitigation workshops to help homeowners understand how they can reduce radon levels themselves. Schools, community centers, and local environmental groups often host these events to spread awareness and encourage action against radon.

To find out about upcoming radon awareness events or to get more information on radon mitigation resources in your area, checking with your local health department or environmental agency is a good start. Additionally, local news outlets and community bulletin boards online can be excellent sources for upcoming events. Engaging with these resources helps you protect your home from radon and builds a community-wide effort to tackle radon risks together, making Southwest Missouri a healthier place to live.

Radon Mitigation – It’s Essential in Southwest Missouri 

In Southwest Missouri, taking a proactive approach to radon testing and mitigation isn’t just a good idea—it’s essential. With the region’s varying radon levels and the potential health risks associated with long-term exposure, ensuring your home is safe from this invisible gas can make all the difference. Radon, being the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, poses a severe health risk, particularly in areas known for higher concentrations of this harmful gas.

If you still need to test your home for radon, now is the time. Testing is the only way to know if your home has high radon levels; thankfully, it’s an easy and affordable process. Whether you opt for a DIY test kit or prefer professional testing services, the key is to take that first step. And if your test results show high radon levels, don’t worry—There are ways to lower radon in your home that really work. Seeking professional advice can help you choose the proper mitigation system for your home, ensuring your family’s health and safety.

We encourage you not just to take action but also to spread the word about radon awareness. Please share this article with friends and family to help them understand the importance of radon testing and mitigation. We can all contribute to a healthier, safer community by raising awareness.

Resources are available for those ready to take the next step to help you get started. To order a radon test kit or find a list of certified radon mitigation professionals in Southwest Missouri, you can visit reputable websites such as the EPA’s radon page or the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. And for personalized assistance, The Radon Company is here to help. Contact us to have your home tested and receive a radon mitigation quote. Together, we can tackle radon levels in Southwest Missouri and ensure our homes are safe and healthy places to live.