During National Radon Action Month, Grinnell Mutual encourages Midwesterners to test their homes and business for the second leading cause of lung cancer, radon. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year.
"Iowa is known to have one of the highest average radon gas concentrations in the United States," said Director of Corporate Loss Control Larry Gallagher. "Several neighboring states where Grinnell Mutual writes insurance are known to traditionally have very high radon levels as well. It’s very prevalent in the Midwest."
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas emitted from rocks and soil. When it seeps into areas without enough ventilation, unsafe levels of the gas collect and are unknowingly inhaled.
"Radon can enter homes through cracks in the foundation, through openings around pipes that enter the home, and even through the water system if a person is using a deep well. A lot of people assume that radon only exists in the old farm homes with the rock foundations or exposed dirt floors. That’s not actually true. Radon can enter a new home if there are elevated levels on the property," said Gallagher.
The good news about radon? It’s easy and affordable to test your building for radon, and if an elevated level is detected, it can be reduced through a mitigation system. In addition, the winter months provide an excellent opportunity for radon testing as windows and doors need to be closed as much as possible during the multi-day test.
Grinnell Mutual recommends taking the following steps to identify and address radon levels in your home or business:
- Purchase a radon testing kit from a local hardware or home improvement store.
- Follow the instructions on the radon test kit. Once the test is complete, mail it in for analysis according to the kit’s instructions.
- If the test results show an elevated level of radon, consider installing a radon mitigation system that exhausts radon out of the building.
"The concern with radon increases for individuals who spend a lot of time at home, whether it’s a stay-at-home parent, someone working from home, a retiree, etc. Those individuals, as well as smokers, are far more likely to contract lung cancer from radon," said Gallagher.
To learn more about radon, view the radon levels in your county, or find local radon investigators or mitigators, go to http://state-radon.info.
About Grinnell Mutual
Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company, in business since 1909, provides reinsurance for farm mutual insurance companies and property and casualty insurance products through more than 1,600 independent agents in 12 Midwestern states. Grinnell Mutual is the 123rd largest property-casualty insurance company in the United States and the largest primary reinsurer of farm mutual companies in North America.