Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and Iowa families are some of the highest at risk.
Seventy percent of homes in Iowa have high levels of radon.
West Des Moines homeowner Dean Newman’s home tested for high levels of radon, more than double the World Health Organizations standard.
“They did some test and found out we had radon in the home and at very high levels and my biggest concern was our grandkids being in the home with that,” says Newman.
Newman knew he needed to mitigate his home but the cost was too high.
He turned to the Radon Free Homes Program which provides mitigation systems to low-income families in Polk County,
“These programs are just a necessity to people who have this in their home and there is no way I could afford to get these systems put in and this program has helped quite immensely,” says Newman.
The Iowa Cancer Consortium along with Polk County’s Healthy Homes Program came up with the idea.
“For a lot of people there`s more important things in their budget than mitigating for radon so that`s why we thought this program would be really valuable for the families,” says Iowa Cancer Consortium’s Outreach Coordinator Allie Bain.
A grant from the EPA has helped provide the funding needed to help families just like the Newman’s.
Selgrade Construction and Radon Mitigation helped install the system in Newman’s home.
“Radon mitigation in general is a fun job, it feels good to help people especially those who otherwise couldn't afford it,” says Radon Specialist Thomas Selgrade.
Selgrade and his team installed the system in all the places radon can collect including crawl spaces, under the foundation and the home's sump pump.
In a few hours the system is up and running, lowering the homes radon levels and letting the family rest easy.
“Now that we know about it and are well-informed about it the peace of mind is that these kids can come over here and not have that danger in the house,” says Newman.
The Radon Free Homes Program has already tested more than 30 homes and is in the process of providing free mitigation systems to 10 with high levels of radon.
You may be eligible for assistance if:
- You are a resident of Polk County
- Your home was built before 1978
- Children under 6 years of age live in or visit the home
- Family income is at or below 80% of Median Family Income
People who are not eligible for the program but are still interesting in testing their homes can buy test kits from the Polk County Health Department for $5.
For more information about the program, and to find it if you qualify call (515) 323-5337.