BuildClean Urges Homeowners to Test for Radon

Consumer advocacy organization BuildClean warned that cancer-causing radon may emanate from indoor building materials, according to a Jan. 6 press release. "The only way to know for sure is to test your home," says Sara Speer Selber, president of BuildClean.

"Certain industries, building materials manufacturers, and resellers would have consumers believe there is absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to the potential for surface choices such as granite, concrete, or ceramic tile to contribute to indoor radon exposure," said Speer Selber.

"A growing body of evidence indicates that some very popular materials may, in some instances, emit not only radon but gamma radiation. The only way to know is to test the materials in your home environment -- or better yet -- before installing them," she added.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon exposure is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the country. Until recently, Speer Selber says, consumer radon exposure was thought to be confined to certain areas where it is commonly found in soil or rock--a source better known as "environmental radon."

"We have seen tests conducted by laboratory scientists and certified technicians indicating radon measurements greater than 4 pci/L from common building materials," said Speer Selber. "While direct exposure to radon can be mitigated by increasing air circulation in affected areas, our concern -- and our message to consumers -- is that adding any source to your home with the potential to injure health inside your home is a bad idea," she added.

January is National Radon Action Month. The EPA ( targets this month to provide information and educational resources to the public to help consumers learn more about radon--where it comes from, how it affects health, and how to know if your family may be unnecessarily exposed.

"Hardware stores, big-box home improvement outlets, and the Internet are great places to find inexpensive (about $25-$50) do-it-yourself radon test kits," said Speer Selber. "Although not perfect, home testing is a great way to find out if you should invest in a professional evaluation by a certified technician."

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