DALLAS (Jan. 15, 2015) — One in 15 homes is affected by elevated radon levels, so this month the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging Americans around the country to test their homes for this naturally occurring radioactive gas.

“Radon is a dangerous health threat to our families and communities that can be easily avoided through simple testing,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “Take action this month and test your home.”

EPA recommends four easy steps to protect your home from radon during cold winter months: First, learn more about testing your home, including how to obtain an easy-to-use test kit. Secondly, learn more about your state’s radon program and local radon activities. Next, encourage others to learn more about radon and test their homes. Lastly, buy a radon-resistant home by looking for builders who use radon-resistant construction.

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Each year about 21,000 Americans die from lung cancer caused by exposure to radon. Testing is the only way to know if a home has elevated levels of radon. The U.S. Surgeon General and EPA recommend taking action to reduce the radon level if it’s at or above 4 picocuries per Liter (pCi/L) of air.

Affordable do-it-yourself radon test kits are available online, at many home improvement and hardware stores, or you can hire a qualified radon professional.

If your test result is 4 pCi/L or more, you should contact a qualified radon-reduction or mitigation contractor.

A professionally installed radon reduction system removes the radon from beneath your home and discharges it harmlessly outside. That’s done by using a vent pipe and exhaust fan.

Taking action to reduce your exposure to radon is also a long-term health investment. A working mitigation system is a positive selling point for homes on the market; in many areas a radon test is a standard part of real estate transactions. If you’re building a new home, work with your builder to include radon-resistant construction techniques.

Affordable do-it-yourself radon test kits are also available online, at many home improvement and hardware stores, or you can hire a qualified radon professional. More information on how to test, obtain a test kit, contact your state radon office, and find a qualified radon professional is available at epa.gov/radon.

 

About the Environmental Protection Agency

The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment. EPA's purpose is to ensure that all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work. It leads national efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information. The United States plays a leadership role in working with other nations to protect the global environment. For more information, visit epa.gov.