In an effort to alert Americans to the dangers of radon, a colorless, odorless, carcinogenic gas that can creep into your home, the Environmental Protection Agency has declared January Radon Awareness Month. Although radon testing is easy and inexpensive, 80 percent of U.S. homes have not been tested.
Radon is a radioactive gas produced from uranium in the geological formation under the soil. The type of soil under your house, its design and your family’s lifestyle all affect the amount of radon gas that enters. The EPA reports that radon causes 20,000 lung cancer deaths nationwide every year. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking. January is the best time to test for radon because doors and windows are all tightly closed.
The only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon is to test your home or have it tested by a certified professional radon tester. For do-it-yourselfers, radon kits can be purchased for $25 at building supply, hardware and general merchandise stores.
If test results are above the EPA recommended action level, you need to have the radon level reduced by a certified radon mitigator. Reducing radon is not technically difficult and costs approximately $800 to $2,500. To locate professional radon testers and certified radon mitigators near you, visit the National Environmental Health Association or the National Radon Safety Board.