Parents Know Best??
As I was writing my last post a letter arrived from my dad. I use the word letter loosely. Since I left for college my dad has made a habit of sending me articles. No notes, no hint as to how his life is going, just other people’s words cut from the newspaper. Generally speaking they are snippets about how everyday things are slowly, but surely, killing me (and now that I’m a mom – how they are killing my baby). This is his way of looking out for me, I know, but more often than not these articles freak me out.
Yesterday’s collection of articles alerted me that there might be radon in my house, that my mattress is probably toxic, and that our new carpet is most assuredly releasing poisons into the air my family is breathing. Sweet Jesus. I usually relegate these articles to the recycle bin lest they drive me crazy (I would throw out the old mattress, but then I would have to sleep on the carpet), but in the name of facing my fears, and providing a healthy home for my family, I hereby vow to face these fears, to do my homework and work to make the changes I reasonably can.
Today we’ll tackle Radon. The article my dad sent was from the April ’08 issue of Delicious Living. It states that there are 20,000 deaths each year from lung cancer due to radon, and that “radon can get into your house by leaking through areas of low pressure (such as cracks in your house’s foundation).” The EPA has a lot more information at http://www.epa.gov/radon/. Did you know that January is National Radon Action Month? Mark your calendars.
A quick search shows that the do-it-yourself home tests for radon are actually pretty cheap. SafetyIssues.com reviewed a bunch of the home tests and listed Air Check (at $8.95 on radon.biz) as the best value. Only $9, and yet, I feel like I have better things to do… Am I just being lazy? How serious is a death rate of 20,000 a year?
The Center for Disease Control lists numbers of deaths and their causes on their website. In 2005, 63,001 people died of Influenza/Pneumonia. 34,136 died of Septicemia (blood poisoning). These are not things I worry about. I had to really dig to find a cause of death with an occurrence similar to Radon Poisoning. The winner: falls. 19,650 people died from accidental falls in 2005. So there it is. The risk of me, or my baby, dying from Radon poisoning is about the same as dying from a fall.
We did install a baby gate above the stairs, and it cost a lot more than $9. I guess I should order that radon test. Maybe I’ll wait until January, because really, how else am I going to celebrate National Radon Action Month?