Radon in Missouri is a significant public health issue that often goes unnoticed due to the nature of the gas: it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Originating from the natural decay of uranium in soil and rock, radon poses a serious risk to residents across the state, particularly in areas with certain geological features conducive to higher radon levels. This page aims to educate Missouri residents about radon, its risks, detection, and mitigation.
Understanding Radon in Missouri
Missouri’s varied geology, including limestone and other uranium-bearing rocks, contributes to the presence of radon in many areas. Radon gas can seep into homes through foundations, becoming trapped and potentially reaching harmful levels.
The Health Risks
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, following smoking. For non-smokers, it’s the leading cause. Long-term exposure to high levels of radon increases the risk of developing lung cancer, making it a silent but significant health threat.
Radon Levels in Missouri
- Geographical Variance: Radon levels in Missouri vary, with some regions experiencing higher concentrations due to their geological makeup.
- EPA’s Radon Zone Classification: Missouri has areas classified in all three EPA radon zones, indicating a range from low to high potential for elevated indoor radon levels.
Radon Testing in Missouri
The only way to know if a home in Missouri has high radon levels is to test for it. Radon test kits are widely available at hardware stores, online, or through county extension offices.
Types of Tests
- Short-term tests: These last between 2 to 7 days and provide a quick assessment of radon levels.
- Long-term tests: More accurate, these tests measure radon levels over several months.
Radon Mitigation in Missouri
If testing reveals radon levels at or above the EPA action level of 4 pCi/L, mitigation is advised. Certified radon mitigation professionals in Missouri can install systems to reduce radon levels, such as:
- Sub-slab Depressurization: A common method using a vent pipe and fan system to draw radon from beneath the building and vent it outside.
- Sealing Cracks and Openings: Reduces radon entry into the home.
Regulations and Resources
Missouri does not mandate radon testing in private homes, but it offers resources and guidance through the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The department provides information on radon testing, mitigation, and lists of certified professionals.
Awareness, testing, and mitigation are key in managing radon risks in Missouri. Residents are encouraged to test their homes for radon and to seek professional mitigation if necessary. By taking these proactive steps, Missourians can ensure safer indoor environments and reduce the health risks associated with radon.
For more information or assistance regarding radon in Missouri, visit the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Radon Website or contact your local health department.