As Americans across the country look for ways to improve their health this New Year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is highlighting radon testing and mitigation as a simple and affordable step to significantly reduce the risk for lung cancer. Radon is a natural colorless, odorless radioactive gas, and is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, but testing for radon and reducing elevated levels when they are found can make your home healthier and safer.
"Testing for radon is an easy and affordable way to protect your family's health," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "Radon is a radioactive gas that can be found in homes all across the country; the only way to know if your home has high levels is to test it."
Part of EPA's radon action campaign is to remind people to "Test, Fix, Save a Life," and to recognize every January as radon action month.
- Test: All homes with or without basements should be tested for radon. Affordable Do-It-Yourself radon test kits are available online and at home improvement and hardware stores, or you can hire a qualified radon tester.
- Fix: EPA recommends taking action to fix radon levels at or above 4 picoCuries per Liter (pCi/L) and contacting a qualified radon-reduction contractor. In most cases, a system with a vent pipe and fan is used to reduce radon. Addressing high radon levels often costs the same as other minor home repairs.
- Save a Life: 21,000 Americans die from radon related lung cancer each year. By fixing elevated levels in your home, you can help prevent lung cancer while creating a healthier home for you and your family.
Taking action to test and fix high levels of radon gas is not only a strong investment for your health, but also for your home. Radon test results are a positive selling point for those putting a house on the market and in many areas is a required part of real estate transactions. In addition, if you are looking to build a new home, there are now safer and healthier radon-resistant construction techniques that home buyers can discuss with builders to prevent this health hazard.