Radon is a natural radioactive gas that you can't see, smell or taste, but it is cancer-causing and poses a danger to health. The Environmental Protection Agency has designated January as National Radon Action Month, but coincidentally, a Bishop couple became proactive recently and has a local radon story to tell.
In West Bishop, Darwin and Toni Tockey checked out Dr. Andrew Weil's site and found that granite countertops and other sources can emit dangerous amounts of radon gas. The Tockey home is partly made of rock, so they ordered a kit to check for radon.
They found the radon gas level in their home exceeded the EPA recommended guideline of 4.0. Their inside air measured 9.0. Darwin Tockey said it turned out that most of the radon gas was coming from under the house. They hired an expert to vent the crawl space. The level has dropped to around 4.3.
Mr. Tockey wanted to make sure local residents know about this potential danger and the fact that they can test their homes for radon.
Inyo County Environmental Health Director Marvin Moscowitz said he planned to meet with the Tockeys and issues some information to the public.
Moscowitz said that studies show radon causes some 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year. He said he had not heard about elevated levels here before.
The internet lists many places from which to order inexpensive radon test kits. There's no guarantee that radon gas under one home means another in the neighborhood will prove the same. Tockey pointed to a mobile home next door that does not have elevated levels.