Reducing the Risk From Radon: A Guide for Healthcare Providers

The Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, Inc., has developed a new guide for health care providers titled Reducing the Risk From Radon: Information and Interventions. This guide was designed to furnish health care providers with the information they need to reduce their patients’ exposures to radon. Radon is estimated to cause about 21,100 lung cancer deaths per year and is the leading environmental cause of cancer mortality in the United States.

This guide has the latest information on:

  • Radon statistics and public health impact.
  • The science behind the risk estimates.
  • Radon testing and reduction.
  • Sample guidance for use in health care settings.
  • The role of health care providers in reducing the burden of radon-induced lung cancer.


Reducing Risk From Radon: Information and Interventions

Don’t Let Spring Rain On Your Parade

Spring rain is a part of life in many areas, and there’s little you can do to stop it. However, what you can do is protect your home and make sure it doesn’t cost you a lot of money in damages. Use these tips to make sure your house is prepared for the downpour that’s on its way.

  • Check your roof, windows, attic vents, chimneys, windows and doors for any damage. Leaks aren’t just going to damage your home through the roof, so take the time to walk around and inspect all possible areas.
  • Clean your gutters or have your landscaping or gardening service make sure that they’re clear. Gutters that are too full with leaves and debris can damage your roof and create costly repairs for you this spring. Leaves are mostly likely to have gathered during the late fall and winter, too.
  • Check the foundation carefully. Take time to clear away debris.  If necessary, add fill dirt. Note any areas of cracking
  • Check appliances to make sure they’re properly connected. Think of this as a spring cleaning tip – water damage from those appliances can damage your home worse than the rain.
  • Inspect your trees. The heavy winter snows may have damaged your trees, and any maintenance repairs should be done as quickly as possible before expected spring storms arrive.

Women’s Lung Health Barometer

As the #1 cancer killer of women, lung cancer takes the lives of more women than any other cancer. Yet, according to the American Lung Association’s 3rd annual Women’s Lung Health Barometer — a survey of over 1,000 American adult women that measures their awareness, knowledge and perceptions about lung cancer — 98 percent of women do not have lung cancer on their health radar. Awareness is critical because if lung cancer is caught before it spreads, the likelihood of survival more than triples. Read More

 

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Is It Safe To Buy a Home With Elevated Radon Levels?

Is it safe to buy a home with an elevated radon level? Yes, says a recent article from Consumer Reports.

Performing a radon test and remediating an issue, if found, should not keep you from owning or selling your home. In many cases, the price of the home can be adjusted during the sale to incorporate the added cost of a radon mitigation system (an average of $1,200).

When installed by a qualified professional, radon systems safely remove the carcinogenic gas, reducing a home’s radon level and creating a healthier environment for the family who lives there.

Read more on the topic here.

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Fall is the perfect time to take care of the little things that can make a big difference for you and your home. Most of the items listed below are well with-in the average person’s ability. But even if you choose to have a professional handle them, it’s worth the expense. You’ll save money — and maybe even your life.

  • Check for damage to your roof, and clean gutters and downspouts to keep debris from accumulating. This is especially important during the fall season to keep leaves from building up in gutters.
  • Keep flammable materials, including all lawn and power equipment, away from water heaters and wiring in the basement.
  • Insulate water pipes in areas exposed to cold temperatures, and turn up the thermostat during extra cold periods.
  • Check and repair caulking around doors and windows that show signs of deterioration.
  • Have your furnace cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified technician.
  • Check caulking around showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilet bases; and make repairs as needed.
  • Have your chimney cleaned and maintained annually by a professional.
  • Clean and/or replace your furnace filter.
  • Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under the dryer. Remove all lint, dust, and pieces of material.
  • Keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible, filled and ready for operation.
  • Store firewood away from home to prevent infestations by termites and other insects

Spring Home Maintenance Tips

For most people, their home is their largest investment. Maintaining your residence can save thousands in the long run. Here is a helpful list of projects to complete this spring that will help maintain your home and its value.

Gutters and downspouts: Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.

Siding: Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting.

Exterior caulking: Inspect caulking and replace if deteriorating. Scrape out all of the eroding caulk and re-caulk needed area.

Window sills, door sills, and thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint or replace if necessary.

Window and door screens: Clean screening and check for holes to avoid room for bugs to climb in. Patch holes or replace the screen. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware. Wind can ruin screens and frames if they are allowed to flap and move so make sure they are securely fastened. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.

Foundation: Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for cracking, heaving, or deterioration. If a significant number of bricks are losing their mortar, call a foundation professional.

Roof: Inspect roof surface flashing, eaves, and soffits. Check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls.

Deck and porches: Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for loose members and deterioration. Open decks and wood fences need to be treated every 4-6 years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. If the stain doesn’t look like it should or water has turned some of the wood a dark grey, it’s time to treat your deck and fence.

Landscape: Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes from structures. Limbs and leaves can cut into your home’s paint and force you to have that side of the house repainted. A little trimming can save a lot of money and time.

Sprinklers: Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads. If there is an area of your yard that collects too much water or doesn’t get enough, run the sprinklers to figure out the problem. If it’s not something you can fix yourself, call a professional before your lawn needs the water.

Clean your dryer vent: Lint can escape your dryer vent and get stuck in the dryer trap. Cleaning out the dryer trap and vent can save you money by reducing dryer times. In addition to saving you money, it will also prevent house fires caused by clogged vents.

Fix cracks in walkways and driveways: Inspect driveway and walkways for cracks and loose particles in the structure. Cracks can be easily sealed before they become costly repairs and unsafe.

Touch up painted areas. Do a checkup on painted areas inside and outside of home for peeling or chipped paint areas. These touchups keep the home looking fresh and can protect the home from further damage.

Attic: Check your attic for proper ventilation and birds’ nests. Look for obstructions over vents, damaged soffit panels, roof flashing leaks and wet spots on insulation. Keeping a good airflow will save you when it comes to cooling costs.

Drainage: Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil.

New Technology Improves Installation

Each of our trucks now has a thermal imaging camera that will aid in the installation of the safest radon mitigation system. Each of our technicians has been trained on the proper usage of this high tech device.

The thermal imaging camera will be used in the following situations during installation of a radon mitigation system:

  1. To identify radiant heat lines buried in the floor, avoiding costly damage to them when we are coring through the floor
  2. To identify radiant heat lines buried in the floor when performing pre-mitigation diagnostics (PFE) testing and sub-slab grab sampling.
  3. To help identify mechanical, plumbing and electrical lines behind walls.
  4. During exterior exhaust installation, to help Identify structural members when attaching fasteners in order to provide the  strongest possible connection to the building.

The thermal imaging camera also aids in the design during an onsite consultation. During the initial onsite consultation, we will be able to identify the location of the structural member(s), so that the exact exterior exhaust location(s) can be located, helping our client understand the location and appearance of the radon reduction system. This step will help eliminate risk of unnecessary fire and/or water damage or excessive holes in the siding.

Usage of new technology, such as a thermal imaging camera, improves system performance and eliminates risks such as fire and water damage.

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This photo shows what we see when we use our thermal imaging camera to identify a radiant heat system. We can clearly see the location of the radiant heat lines so we can avoid drilling where they are located.

June is National Men’s Health and Cancer Awareness Month

June is National Men’s Health and Cancer Awareness Month. In 2012, the World Cancer Fund estimated that 7.4 million men worldwide were diagnosed with lung cancer. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. A radon professional and a top quality RadonAway fan are the perfect pair to work together to lower these staggering statistics every year.

Our Competition Makes Us Look Good

I just received two calls today from potential clients. The first client was trying to sell their house and had one of our competitors install their radon system. A re-test was performed and the radon levels were still not passing. Also, the buyer’s inspection company said that the system was installed wrong and therefore the deal was on hold until the radon issues were resolved. The other contractor was not willing to fix their system, causing the sale of the home to be in jeopardy. I will never have a conversation with our client where I tell the customer “I will not return to fix the system” or “I’m too busy to return to fix the radon system”. Our goal is to assist home sellers in any way possible to help sell their home. Our clients will not have to the bear the additional stress or additional carrying costs because of a delay in the sale (taxes, insurance and operating expenses). In the end, the cheaper solution can cost the client more money and headaches.

The second call was a client that needed Home Owners Association approval in order to install the radon system. The other mitigation company was not willing to take the time to fill out the HOA forms, speak to HOA management or do anything to help the client with this process. I will never have a conversation where I tell the client, “You fill out all of the HOA forms and speak to the HOA about radon requirements” and not assist in getting HOA approval.

It all comes down to premier customer service, which a cheaper company is not willing to provide to make their client’s life easier.