All posts by Ameriserv Radon Mitigation Team

FRAP Scorecard – What is it?

What is the Federal Radon Action Plan Scorecard?

radon testing in iowa, dangers of radon, radon mitigation

Since 2011, the federal government has been implementing the Federal Radon Action Plan (FRAP). In February 2016, they posted a Scorecard to report on the status of radon testing and radon mitigation activities implemented under FRAP. The scorecard records commitments based on their final status, green for complete and red for incomplete.

It also discusses the six commitments that will be continued under the National Radon Action Plan (NRAP), which took over the FRAP plan after 2016. The three green-marked commitments will either be expanded to include new strategies or simply continued and tracked. The three red-marked commitments will be addressed under current  NRAP programs.

Six Commitments Tracked by FRAP

Following are the six commitments defined by FRAP and a brief discussion of their progress.

  1. Testing tribal residences and schools for radon and educating Tribes of radon risk –The Bureau of Indian Affairs, has done radon testing on about  30% of approximately 3500 residences and 500 schools for the presence of radon. The remaining 70% are expected to be completed by 2020 and will be tracked and reported.
  2. Deducting radon testing and mitigation costs with the Health Care Savings Accounts (HSAs) – Because radon can have significant health-related effects, the IRS is currently working with the EPA to determine which expenses related to radon reduction can be deducted as medical expenses.
  3. Providing a radon mitigation cost set-aside through the VA’s Home Loan Guarantee Program – Although the VA has considered this action, it has determined that it is not feasible under current budget limitations. It will continue to prioritize work with guidelines for new construction programs and Minimum Property Requirements (MRP), which will be tracked and reported.
  4. Testing for radon in HUD public and assisted housing – While HUD currently lacks funding to perform radon tests as a part of its inspections of public and assisted housing, it is committed make this a standard part of the inspection process and will continue to explore its feasibility under NRAP.
  5. Creating a website to Increasing overall public awareness of radon in homes – Currently the EPA, HUD, USDA and HHS are collaborating on a website that works with existing campaigns to increase public awareness of the prevalence of radon and known health risks of radon in homes. The launch date of this website is as yet not determined.
  6. Engaging with the philanthropic organizations to promote public awareness of radon – The EPA, HUD and USDA is working to develop public-private partnerships to support programs to increase public awareness and reduce the presence and risks of radon in homes. So far efforts have been largely unsuccessful.

For further radon information from government agencies and programs, contact Ameriserv Radon Mitigation’s link page.

Ten Myths about Radon

Ten Myths about Radon

Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs nRadon Testing Iowa, Radon Mitigation Iowa, Myths about Radonaturally in the soil and often leaks into lower levels of homes. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, behind smoking, and leads to 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually. Because you aren’t able to see, smell or taste radon gas, it’s important to test the air in your home and fix any problems you find. Many people don’t believe their home is in area with radon, one of the common myths about radon.

EPA’s Common Myths about Radon

Recently the EPA has reported ten common myths people have about radon, which follow.

1. Myth: Scientists are not sure that radon really is a problem.

Fact: While scientists are not certain of the exact number of deaths due to radon, the major health organizations, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), American Medical Association (AMA), and American Lung Association all agree that radon causes thousands of otherwise preventable lung cancer deaths annually, especially among smokers.

2. Myth: Radon testing is difficult and expensive.

Fact: Testing for radon is easy and inexpensive, either by testing your home yourself or hiring a qualified radon testing professional. It has been shown that long-term testing kits, for at least 90 days, are more accurate than short-term kits.

3. Myth: It is impossible to fix a home with radon problems.

Fact: Many homes have already been successfully fixed. The cost radon problems can be fixed by qualified radon mitigation contracts for about the same cost as other home repairs.

4. Myth: Radon affects only certain types of homes.

Fact: Radon can affect any type of home: old or new, drafty or insulated, and with or without basements. The primary factors that affect radon levels in homes are local soils, construction materials, and building methods.

5. Myth: Radon occurs in only certain areas of the country.

Fact: Radon levels do tend to be higher in certain areas, but they have occurred in all 50 states. The only way to be certain your house does not contain radon is to test it.

6. Myth: If my neighbor has/doesn’t have radon, it must be the same for me.

Fact: This is not true. Radon levels do vary greatly between homes. The only way to be sure your home does not have a radon problem is to test it.

7. Myth: Everyone should also test their water for radon.

Fact: Radon can get into homes through ground water, but it is most important to test the air first. While radon gets into some homes through water, it is important to first test the air in the home for radon. If your water comes from a public water supply that uses ground water, call your water supplier. If high radon levels are found and the home has a private well, call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 for information on testing your water.

8. Myth: Selling a home with radon problems is difficult.

Fact: As long as the radon problems have been fixed, there is no problem selling a home. As a matter of fact, the added protection could be turned into a selling point.

9. Myth: It doesn’t make sense to check my home for radon because I’ve already lived here a long time.

Fact: Even if you’ve lived with an elevated radon level for many years, correcting it now will still reduce your risk for lung cancer.

10. Myth: Short-term tests don’t help determine whether or not to correct radon problems.

Fact: Short-term tests can be used to determine whether or not to reduce a high radon levels. If the short-term test result is close to pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter), it is difficult to determine whether the radon level is above or below that average throughout the years. Ideally, the level should be 2 pCi/L or lower to be safe.

For more information, refer to the EPA’s A Citizen’s Guide to Radon.

What If My Home Needs Radon Testing or Repair?

If you’ve tested your home and had a high radon level or want a professional in radon mitigation to test and/or repair your radon problems, contact the experts at Ameriserv Radon Mitigation of Iowa.

Don’t put you and your family at an unnecessary risk for lung cancer!

FRAP Scorecard

EPA Works to Reduce Radon Levels

In 2011 the federal government started a program to track the progress of the EPA and its partners. Their goal was to reduce radon levels in American homes across the nation. The Federal Radon Action Plan (FRAP) Scorecard was created to track which goals have been completed by February of 2016. Many of these goals included educating the public about the dangers of radon, especially in high risk areas such as Iowa. The EPA and its partners also worked with schools, daycare facilities, hospitals, and other public buildings to test for radon and mitigate if necessary.

frap scorecard iowaAs of February 2016 the Scorecard has been posted with the final results. The majority of their goals were completed. Each of these goals will help reduce radon levels in America and decrease future issues. The end goal is to completely erase radon gas levels, and the EPA is working furiously towards that goal.

The New Plan – National Radon Action Plan

The updated program (NRAP) aims to reduce radon in five million American homes and save 3,200 lives annually in the process. By 2020 they want to have this plan completely implemented. The EPA is partnering with the American Lung Association to fight avoidable lung cancer cases caused by radon.

Ameriserv wants to help fight high radon gas levels in America. We offer radon testing and radon mitigation services to Iowa homes and businesses. Contact us today to learn more about radon and what you can do to fight back, too. Not only will you be protecting yourself from the harms of radon gas, you will be helping the future generations. Give us a call!

If Having Children in the Home doesn’t Motivate Radon Testing, What Will?

If Having Children in the Home doesn’t Motivate Radon Testing, What Will?

The Dangers of Radon Gas

If your child was in danger and you could remove that danger in order to protect them, would you? A study found that some parents may not, especially in the case of radon. It has been found that many homes have or will fall victim to radon gas. Radon is a radioactive gas that is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers–this includes children. It is the second leading cause for smokers. The study conducted radon and secondhand smoke tests in 550 homes. At the same time, parents were asked if they were concerned about the long term affects of radon gas or secondhand smoke on their children. The study found that “having children present in the home [didn’t] appear to impact parents’ lung cancer worry.”

Spreading Radon Awareness

radon educationSo, how can we get people to understand the very real danger of radon? We believe that awareness and education could be a step in the right direction. Many people do not even know what radon is or what it can cause. Radon is a gas that is created through the natural breakdown of uranium in the earth. It rises through the soil and into homes through small basement or foundation cracks.

When radon is outside in the air it is virtually harmless, but in a small, enclosed space such as a home, it can lead to a variety of health problems. This includes wheezing, coughing, lung infections, and even lung cancer. Luckily, radon gas must be present for a long time to cause these issues, so that is why it is so important to regularly have your home tested for radon gas. Contact us today to learn more about radon testing and radon mitigation–the solution for high levels of radon in your home.

Even Kids get that Radon is Dangerous

Kids Work on a Bill for Radon Testing & Mitigation in Schools

Kids work on a bill for IowaIt’s great to know that kids get it. Radon is dangerous, and they are trying to do something about it. The State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council help to champion a bill to make sure that Iowa schools are tested for radon levels. This group of students researched and learned about the effects of radon which is a carcinogenic gas that occurs in Iowa in levels you don’t see just about anywhere else in the United States. Every single one of the counties in Iowa are at an elevated risk of radon exposure.

Radon has been proven to be a problem in schools due to the way they are constructed. With students and teachers spending hours and hours a day in the school buildings, if radon is present they are in deep trouble. Sadly the bill did not advance even though the research showed the high levels of radon in Iowa and the danger the schools are in. As always, cost was a concern.

What Else can we do to Protect our Kids from Radon Exposure?

radon testing iowa schoolsSo make sure you are educating your children. The more people talk about radon and it’s dangers, especially to our children in their schools, the sooner it will get done. Also, contact your local government representatives and push for this type of legislation to be approved. Our kids tried to stand up for other kids in our state. Now we need to as well! If you have questions about radon, the dangers of radon, or if you want to have radon testing and mitigation for your school contact the team at Ameriserv Radon. We do radon testing and mitigation in schools. We are here for you Iowa!

Read more about this story here:  http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/abetteriowa/2016/06/02/youth-urge-iowa-legislature-get-ahead-curve/85301998/

Radon Levels & Testing in Iowa Counties

High Radon Levels in Many Iowa Counties

Are you in danger of having high radon levels in your home? Iowa is the state with the highest average radon level in the country. Why are radon levels in Iowa so high? Radon is a radioactive gas that is formed during the breakdown of radium in the ground. Radon levels are particularly high in Iowa due to glaciers that deposited finely-ground soil in the area. The large surface area of this soil allows it to emit a lot of radon gas.

The following map shows radon levels by county throughout the United States. Notice that Iowa contains several more counties with elevated radon levels (indicated by red) than most other states.high radon levels in iowa counties

You may be wondering why this is such a big deal. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and kills around 400 Iowans every single year. In fact, radon is the second leading cause o lung cancer next to smoking – prolonged radon exposure causes up to 20,000 cases of lung cancer per year.

This means that radon can pose a serious threat to Iowa residents. The average concentration of radon indoors in Iowa is 8.5 pCi/L, which is over six times the national average. Because it is impossible to detect radon in your home, you should have your home professionally tested as soon as possible.

Reduce Radon Levels in Your Iowa Home

Ameriserv Radon Mitigation of Iowa can test your home for radon and provide mitigation services to reduce high radon levels. We offer both short-term and long-term radon testing to determine if you are in need of radon mitigation services to lower radon levels. We also offer DIY Radon testing kits. If you choose to perform a DIY test and the results show a high radon level, you should follow up with a professional test to get a more accurate idea of radon levels.

radon levels by county in iowaIf we find that the radon levels in your home are higher than the recommended 4.0 pCi/L in your home, we can install a radon mitigation system. These systems use fans and pipes to reroute radon from the basement (or ground level of the home) upwards, where it is then vented out of the home.

Radon often enters the home through the basement, or through cracks in the foundation. In addition to mitigation, it may be beneficial to ensure that foundation cracks in your home are repaired. This will further prevent radon from entering the home.

If you live in Iowa, you are in danger of high radon levels and should have your home tested as soon as possible. However, certain counties are even more at risk for high radon levels. Click here to find an interactive map that shows average radon levels in your county – and do not hesitate to contact Ameriserv for an appointment today. See the map on the right to find out if we serve your Iowa county.

What Renters Should Know About Radon

Radon in Your Iowa Apartment

If you live in Iowa, you are probably aware that radon is a big problem for locals. This odorless and colorless gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the country and kills around four-hundred Iowans each year. That is why it is so important to test your living space for elevated radon levels. If you live in an apartment or are renting your home, it may have been tested for radon already. Check with the owner of the building to see if it has been tested. If the building has not been tested, you may want to request that the owner have it tested.

However, if the owner does not or will not test for radon, there are a few things you can do to test for radon yourself. You can invest in professional radon testing with the experts at AmeriServ Radon Mitigation of Iowa, or you can conduct a do-it-yourself radon test.

If you opt for a DIY radon test kit, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • building-2The EPA suggests all homes below the third floor be tested for radon. You can test your unit if you live above the third floor, but those below the third floor are at greater risk since radon enters through the ground.
  • Be sure to place the radon test kit in the lowest portion of the home that is inhabited by you and your family on a regular basis.
  • Keep all doors and windows closed whenever possible during the test for the most accurate results.
  • Place the test somewhere where it will not be disturbed for at least 48 hours (or as long as is required by test instructions).
  • Once complete, seal the test in the package once again and send it to the laboratory to obtain the results.

Once the test has been completed and you receive the results, you will know whether or not your home has high radon levels and can plan the next course of action.

What Can You Do About High Radon Levels as a Tenant?

If the test results determine that the building contains high radon levels, you should let the owner know in writing. You can give a copy of the test results to the business owner and talk about the best way to take care of the radon issue. You may also want to share the test results with any other tenants living in the building. This way, they can invest in radon tests for their own units or talk to the owner.

Most likely, the owner will be required to have more radon testing done by professionals to find out the severity of the problem. If these test results support the results of your own test, the owner will need to have the building mitigated. Talk to the building owner about getting the radon mitigated with professional mitigation services like those we offer here at AmeriServ.

If you are an Iowa renter concerned about radon levels in your apartment building, high-rise complex, or rented home, contact AmeriServ for help or click here to learn more about what you can do.

How Does Groundwater Raise Radon Levels?

Groundwater and Radon Levels in Iowa

Normally, radon gas enters an Iowa home by seeping through foundation cracks in the basement. Radon enters in this manner because it originates in the soil. When uranium breaks down in the soil, radon forms and rises through the soil until it reaches the foundation of your home and seeps inside.

However, it is possible for groundwater to bring radon into the home. You may live in an area where there is a lot of dissolved radon in the groundwater. This is especially common if there is a high content of granite or granitic sand in the area.

If you have a well with water that contains dissolved radon, this may cause elevated radon levels in your home. Most commonly, this dissolved radon in the water is stirred up by activities like showering, washing dishes, and doing laundry. These activities cause the dissolved radon to be released into the air, raising the radon levels in your home.

Reduce Radon Levels in Your Iowa Well Water

If you have had your home tested and have installed a mitigation system but still have high radon levels, well water could be to blame. Take these steps if you are worried about radon in your household water:

  • Radon in Iowa Well WaterTest for Radon: Have your home tested for radon. If the test results come back higher than the recommended maximum of 4.0, your home has elevated radon levels.
  • Invest in Mitigation: Have the professionals at AmeriServ install a radon mitigation system. This should reduce the radon levels.
  • Test Again: After the mitigation system has been in place for a while, your radon levels should decrease. If not, the radon could be entering your home via the well water.
  • Test the Water: Have your well water tested if radon levels do not lower to determine whether radon is entering your home through the drinking water.
  • Treat the Water: Aeration treatment (spraying the water with air and venting before using it) or GAC treatment (filtering the water through carbon – radon attaches to the carbon) can be used to remove radon from the water.

If you need to have your water tested, contact your state certification officer. Be sure that water is treated at the source instead of merely having a filter installed below the faucet. This will prevent radon from entering your home through water in the first place.

To have your home tested for radon or to have a mitigation system installed to reduce radon levels in your home, contact AmeriServ Radon Mitigation of Iowa today.