What is Radon?
You can’t see radon. And you can’t smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home. Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. That’s because when you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.
Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon can be found all over the U.S. It can get into any type of building — homes, offices, and schools — and result in a high indoor radon level. But you and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure at home, where you spend most of your time.
Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.
- Test your home for radon — it’s easy and inexpensive.
- Fix your home if your radon level is 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher.
- Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases may be reduced.
- Radon is estimated to cause thousands of cancer deaths in the U.S. each year.
* Radon is estimated to cause between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths per year according to the National Academy of Sciences 1998 data. The numbers of deaths from other causes are taken from 2001 National Safety Council reports.
What do the colors mean?
|Zone 1 counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level greater than 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) (red zones)||Highest Potential|
|Zone 2 counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level between 2 and 4 pCi/L (orange zones)||Moderate Potential|
|Zone 3 counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level less than 2 pCi/L (yellow zones)||Low Potential|
NOTE: Radon gas testing is a 48 to73 hour test. Special test conditions must be obtained in order to receive the most accurate results. The test may be conducted during any season, as long as closed building conditions can be maintained. All external doors, windows, and vents should be kept closed from 12 hours before starting the test until the end of the test. You don’t need to change your normal entry and exit routines, just make sure you close the door behind you. If the building has a permanently installed radon mitigation system, air to air heat exchanger, and/or combustion air supplies for furnaces, etc., they should be operated normally. However, do not operate any whole house or window fans during the test. This test should not be started if severe weather is predicted. For example, a major storm system with winds exceeding 30 miles per hour.
For more information on Radon check out the following links.