A Homeowner’s Guide: Steps to Test & Reduce Your Exposure to Radon
When it comes to owning a home, there are a litany of "honey do's" but there is one item on the list you should not miss: a radon test. If you aren't familiar with radon, here's the scoop: It's a radioactive, colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that can exist at dangerously high levels inside homes, schools and other buildings. And exposure to high levels of radon can cause lung cancer. In fact, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths each year in the United States.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas emitted from the ground. Exposure to very low concentrations, like those found outdoors, is impossible to avoid. However, when radon gets trapped indoors, it may concentrate at dangerous levels.
Testing for Radon
Radon can enter a home through cracks in walls, basement floors, foundations and other openings. The only way to detect harmful levels of radon in your home is to test the air. You can hire a certified radon-testing professional to test your home, or you can purchase an at-home radon test. Do-it-yourself short-term tests typically take two to seven days and must be sent to a laboratory for analysis. Long-term tests are more accurate and take at least three months.
Airthings – a manufacturer of indoor air quality products that monitor and identify radon levels – are advocates of long-term, daily monitoring of radon. To help raise awareness for the importance of radon testing and support lung cancer research, Airthings is donating $1 for each Corentium Home and Airthings Wave sold online through September 30, 2018, with a minimum donation of $25,000 to the American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE initiative.
Reducing Radon Exposure
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends taking action to reduce radon levels indoors if concentrations exceed 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) and urges people to consider fixing their homes if the levels range between 2 and 4 pCi/L. If you find high levels of radon in your home, seek a U.S. EPA- or state-certified contractor to make the repairs to decrease radon levels – this is not a DIY home project.ii Detailed information about reducing radon in your home or building can be found in EPA's Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction.
Radon may seem scary, but starting with proper testing, you can take proven steps to protect your family's health.
This content was developed in partnership with Airthings.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Health Risks of Radon. Accessed August 19, 2016.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2016 A Citizen's Guide to Radon. Accessed August 19, 2016.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2016 Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction: How to Fix Your Home. Accessed December 5, 2017.