1) What is it?
2) How do we detect it?
3) What effects does it have on us?
4) How can we fix a radon problem?
The following are statements from the EPA pamphlet titled:
"A Citizens Guide to Radon"
1) HOW DOES RADON GET INTO YOUR HOME?
Radon is a radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium
that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground
to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the
foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any
home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.
Radon from soil gas is the main cause of radon problems. Sometimes
radon enters the home through well water. In a small number
of homes, the building materials can give off radon, too. However, building
materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves.
Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated
radon levels. Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in your state.
2) HOW TO TEST YOUR HOME
You can’t see radon, but it’s not hard to find out if you have a radon
problem in your home. All you need to do is test for radon. Testing is easy
and should only take a few minutes of your time.
The amount of radon in the air is measured in “picocuries per liter of
air,” or “pCi/L.” There are many kinds of low-cost “do it yourself” radon
test kits you can get through the mail and in some hardware stores and
other retail outlets. If you prefer, or if you are buying or selling a home,
you can hire a qualified tester to do the testing for you. You should first
contact your state radon office about obtaining a list of qualified testers.
You can also contact a private radon proficiency program for lists of
privately certified radon professionals serving your area. For links and
more information, visit https://www.
3) THE RISK OF LIVING WITH RADON
Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in
your lungs when you breathe. As they break down further, these
particles release small bursts of energy. This can damage lung tissue
and lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime. Not everyone
exposed to elevated levels of radon will develop lung cancer. And the
amount of time between exposure and the onset of the disease may be
Like other environmental pollutants, there is some uncertainty about
the magnitude of radon health risks. However, we know more about
radon risks than risks from most other cancer-causing substances. This
is because estimates of radon risks are based on studies of cancer in
humans (underground miners).
Smoking combined with radon is an especially serious health risk.
Stop smoking and lower your radon level to reduce your lung cancer
Children have been reported to have greater risk than adults of
certain types of cancer from radiation, but there are currently no
conclusive data on whether children are at greater risk than adults
Your chances of getting lung cancer from radon depend mostly on:
• How much radon is in your home
• The amount of time you spend in your home
• Whether you are a smoker or have ever smoked.
4) HOW TO LOWER THE RADON LEVEL IN YOUR HOME
Since there is no known safe level of radon, there can always be some
risk. But the risk can be reduced by lowering the radon level in your
There are several proven methods to reduce radon in your home, but
the one primarily used is a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon
from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. This system, known
as a soil suction radon reduction system, does not require major changes
to your home. Sealing foundation cracks and other openings makes this
kind of system more effective and cost-efficient. Similar systems can also
be installed in houses with crawl spaces. Radon contractors can use other
methods that may also work in your home. The right system depends on
the design of your home and other factors.
Ways to reduce radon in your home are discussed in EPA’s Consumer’s
Guide to Radon Reduction. You can get a copy at –about-radon
The cost of reducing radon in your home depends on how your home
was built and the extent of the radon problem. Most homes can be fixed
for about the same cost as other common home repairs. The cost to fix
can vary widely; consult with your state radon office or get one or more
estimates from qualified mitigators.