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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Marylanders encouraged to test for radon this winter

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Tuesday, January 16, 2024   

January is National Radon Action Month, and officials are asking Marylanders to test their homes for the radioactive gas. After smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Radon is produced by the breakdown of uranium in the soil, it's invisible, has no smell or taste, and must be detected with a kit or specialized equipment.

In Maryland, nearly 21% of radon test results were at or above the EPA action level. The EPA recommends homes with radon measurements above 4 picocuries per liter of air have mitigation equipment installed.

John Swett, owner operator of Radon Abatement Services in Kensington, said mitigation creates a void under the house to divert radon before it enters the structure.

"The main engine driving radon into houses is the natural vacuum that all structures create on the soil," he explained. "It's called thermal stack effect. So radon doesn't just passively seep into the house, it's actively sucked in by that vacuum and the radon systems basically reverse that and pull it out before it can get sucked into the house."

He added in most homes with a slab foundation, mitigation equipment installation costs between $800 and $1,600.

Radon can also be present in groundwater and experts say homes on wells should also be testing their water for radon.

"Radon in water is mostly an issue with what it contributes to your overall radon in air levels," Swett continued. "So when the water is aerated, like when it's released in the house, at your kitchen, your laundry, your bathrooms, what radon is released from the water into the air, that's what poses the main risk."

The EPA estimates that of the cancer deaths attributable to radon in water, 89% are from lung cancer and 11% from stomach cancer due to ingesting water containing radon. The agency has not established an action level for radon in water.


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