Lead and Radon Dangers in Your House

Detroit residents aren’t the only Americans who have to worry about lead in their drinking water. Lead, a toxic metal, is common in houses built before 1986. 

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas released from the ground and the second most common cause of lung cancer after smoking. 

A variety of DIY testing kits are available online and in home improvement stores. 

Even if your annual municipal water supply report claims no lead in the drinking water it supplies, your dwelling may have lead pipes or lead-soldered plumbing.

Virginia tech doctoral student Rebecca Kriss tested DIY lead kits ($13-$40) and found them effective. after letting the cold water run briefly, a test strip is left in a water sample which then provides positive or negative results. A positive results means your water exceeds the federal 15 parts per billion threshold.

Approximately 1 in 15 homes test high for radon. You can buy a test kit that measures the radon level in the basement or ground floor of your home over 90 days. Then it is mailed to a lab for analysis. If results show radon levels at or above 4 picocuries per liter of air, consult a certified professional about mitigation strategies. Mitigation costs vary. 

Radon testing should be done every 2 years because radon levels can fluctuate. 

Be sure to test after major home-improvement projects that involve the soil surrounding the house, especially when converting a basement to living space. 

When buying a home be sure to have it tested for radon and lead levels. 

Many thanks to Beth DeCarbo writing for The Wall Street Journal, October 23, 2020.

Source: Financial Planning for Women