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Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that results from the decay of uranium in clay soil. When radon breaks down, its decay products can be inhaled, presenting a health hazard. The potential danger of radon in your home may remain hidden because radon is odorless, colorless, and tasteless.

Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and concentrates in a home or building through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Any building can contain radon, whether the building is old or new, well-sealed or drafty, with or without basements. Radon gets into the building through:

Health Effects

Radon is one of the second leading causes of lung cancer, following smoking. Smoking and radon exposure together greatly increase lung cancer risk.

You SHOULD:

  1. Test your home. Testing is the only accurate way to determine radon levels. The U.S. EPA strongly recommendsthat all buildings be tested for radon. Follow instructions carefully when testing. It's better to test in the winter when the building is closed up.

  2. Use experts to fix the problem. U.S. EPA recommends that you use a qualified contractor or mitigator to fix your building because lowering high radon levels requires specific technical knowledge and special skills. Without the proper equipment or technical knowledge, you actually could increase your radon level or create other potential hazards. But, if you decide to do the work yourself, get information and appropriate training courses and copies of U.S. EPA's technical guidance documents. The state also can provide guidance on choosing a state-certified radon mitigator. These mitigators use a variety of methods to reduce radon, such as sealing cracks in floors and walls and installing pipes and fans. Retest after radon mitigation to ensure your levels have dropped.

  3. To Learn more about radon from health risks, testing, and mitigation look at this EPA site: www.epa.gov/iaq/radon/pubs/index.html.

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