January is National Radon Action Month. Colorless, odorless radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. Radon is found all over the United States in homes, offices, schools, and other buildings. It’s most dangerous to you when it’s in your home because that’s where you likely spend most of your time.
How does radon get into my home?
Radon is formed when uranium in soil decays. It’s a natural process. It moves up through the ground out of the soil and into whatever is above it. Cracks in the foundation of a building allow it in. Once inside, it’s trapped. Levels of 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter of air) or more are considered a problem. Compare that to the average indoor concentration, which is about 1.3 pCi/L.
How do I test for radon?
It’s easy. You can buy a test kit and do it yourself. Or, you can hire a radon test company to do it for you.
If there is a high level of radon in my home, what do I do?
You can have the issue fixed. There are contractors trained to fix radon problems. Common methods include sub-slab depressurization to prevent the gas from entering and venting to remove the gas. Like any other home repair, you’ll want to get estimates and references.
What are the health risks of radon?
Exposure to radon can cause lung cancer. Smoking, radon, and second-hand smoke are the top three causes of lung cancer. It causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, according to EPA estimates.For more information on radon, check out the EPA’s radon page. You’ll also find information on radon in our online Health Center.