Protect yourself and your family. Test your home. Every home should be tested, even if it was built radon-resistant. You cannot predict radon levels based on state, local neighborhoods, or even the home next door. The only way to know whether your home has elevated radon is to test it.
1) What is Radon?
Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. You can’t see it, smell it, or taste it, but radon is estimated to cause well over 20,000 deaths each year.
2) Why do I need to test for Radon?
When you breathe in radon gas over a period of time, you can get lung cancer. The more radon you are exposed to, and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk of eventually developing lung cancer.
The U.S. Surgeon General, American Lung Association, World Health Organization, and many others have warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer today. It is 5 or 6 times more dangerous to your lungs than secondhand smoke. If you smoke and your home has an elevated radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.
The U.S. EPA estimates that nearly 1 out of every 15 homes has elevated radon levels. Radon problems may be more common in some geographic areas, but any home can have high radon. Schools, day care facilities, and workplaces can also have a radon problem. Ask whether they have been tested.
Radon can be found everywhere and in any home new or old, well-sealed or drafty, with or without a basement. Radon gas comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown or uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. It can enter any type of building, including homes, offices and schools.
But you and your family are most likely to receive your greatest exposure at home, where you spend most of your time.
3) How does Radon get into a home?
Radon gas typically moves up through the ground and into your home through cracks in floors or walls, joints, gaps around pipes and other holes or cavities in the walls or foundation. Radon can enter the home even when no visible cracks exist. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Radon also can enter the home through the well water. In some rare cases, building materials may be a source of radon gas.
4) How do I know if my home is contaminated?
Testing is the only way to find out your home's radon levels. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.
5) Can a Radon problem be fixed?
If you find that you have high radon levels, there are ways to fix a radon problem. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.