Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium found in the soil. Radon can enter and build up in your home, and poses a hazard to your health by damaging your lungs. Radon levels are historically high in Montana, generally higher than the Environmental Protection Agency's action level.
It is easy to test for radon levels in your home. These test kits may be found at your local hardware store, online, or through the Richland County Health Department. The testing devices are easy to use and provide accurate results. It is important to note that Montana law requires that radon test results, if available, are required to be disclosed during a real estate transaction. For this reason, we recommend consulting with your landlord or the homeowner before testing for radon in a building that you do not own.
High radon levels can be reduced by installing certain features, such as a radon fan, in your home, or sealing cracks in the home's foundation. Consult with a knowledgeable construction company to plan any radon mitigation upgrades. The EPA estimates that reducing radon levels through construction upgrades costs about $1500 on average.
For more information, visit Montana DEQ, or the US EPA.
Molds are fungi that can be found in virtually every environment, indoors and outdoors, year round. As such, test kits to identify the presence of mold are unreliable. Mold grows especially well in damp environments. Excess moisture in a building should be addressed quickly. This means removing all water-soaked material, drying residual moisture with fans, cleaning any other materials with a bleach solution, and throwing away any materials that are not salvageable. In damp spaces such as basements, controlling moisture with a humidifier may reduce the likelihood of mold growth.
Research has shown that damp conditions can lead to respiratory illness. People who are sensitive to mold may experience stuffy nose, irritated eyes, wheezing or skin irritation. Mold may also further irritate existing conditions such as asthma and other breathing-related diseases.
For more information, visit Montana DPHHS
Outdoor Air Quality
Outdoor air quality can be impacted in a number of ways. During the summer, wildfires in Montana and other areas can cause significant smoke impacts in our communities. Visit Montana DPHHS to find resources to learn about current air quality, wildfire forecasts, open burning rules, and the health effects from smoke and fire.