Radon - Hidden Health Risk

A simple test for radon gas could save your life

(January 17, 2012)

Mention radon to most people, and you’ll get a blank stare. But mention lung cancer, and you’ve got their attention! What most people don’t know is that exposure to radon, an invisible odorless gas, is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. The good news is that a simple test can tell you if you need to take steps to reduce the risk to yourself and your family. January is a perfect time to test your home.

Radon, a radioactive gas from the soil and rock beneath many homes, keeps itself well hidden. You can’t see it, smell it or taste it, but according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon-related. You can learn more about radon here.

Detecting radon

January is National Radon Action Month, but anytime is the right time to find out if radon is a health threat in your home. Radon can build up in any house – old or new – and performing a radon test is the only way to find out if your home has unsafe levels.

Homeowners can use do-it-yourself radon testing kits. To find out where to buy a kit, call 1-800-SOS RADON (1-800-767-7236), or visit the EPA website.

If you have high levels of radon, mitigation systems can be installed that effectively pulls radon out of your home, using fans and pipes. If you’re building a new home, consider installing a simple ventilation system that can protect your family from radon gas getting into your home.

Radon may be well hidden, but with a little help, you can find it and beat it. Find out more by contacting the American Lung Association Lung HelpLine (1-800-LUNG-USA) or checking here.