Granite State Harbors Invisible Enemy

The frost is on the pumpkin, which means the radon is in the air.

Actually, that’s a little misleading: Radon, a naturally produced radioactive gas, is always in the air.

It’s released by the granite all around us, a process that doesn’t change when winter approaches.

What does change with cold weather is that people close up their houses, creating a “chimney effect,” which draws more radon into homes and keeps it there – meaning many houses have a lot more radon in the air than they did in the summer.

“Homes suck in the radon from underneath the house, especially during winter when you start closing the windows,” said Owen David, head of the state’s radon program.

This seasonal effect explains why some in the radon-mitigation industry have declared this to be Radon Awareness Week, and why the state makes an extra radon-information push each January, a time of year when houses are particularly sealed up.

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