Safeguard Your Home from Radon
Radon is a naturally-occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas. One in 15 American homes contains high levels of radon, and millions of Americans are unknowingly exposed to this dangerous gas. In fact, a recent study by Harvard University ranks radon as America’s No. 1 in-home hazard.
To that end, the Surgeon General has designated next week, October 15-21, as Federal Radon Action Week. Health agencies throughout the United States have joined forces to promote awareness of this leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. The American Lung Association, Centers for Disease Control, and the National Cancer Institute are encouraging radon testing during the October awareness drive.
Homeowners must realize that radon gas is not isolated to certain geographical areas or home types. If a home hasn’t been tested for radon in the past two years, EPA and the Surgeon General urge you to take action. By taking simple steps to test your home for radon and fix it, if necessary, this health hazard can be avoided. Contact your state radon office for information on locating qualified test kits or qualified radon testers.
The quickest way to test is with short-term tests. Short-term tests remain in your home for two days to 90 days, depending on the device. Because radon levels tend to vary from day to day and season to season, a short-term test is less likely than a long-term test to tell you your year-round average radon level. Long-term tests remain in your home for more than 90 days. For a better understanding of your year-round average radon level, take a long-term test. However, if you need results quickly, take a second short-term test.
If you are planning on listing your home in the near future, bear in mind that homebuyers and renters are increasingly aware of radon issues. The best course of action is to have your home tested long before it hits the market and have the results handy for prospective buyers. This will also give you time to fix the problem in advance and avoid potential complications in the sale of your home.
According to the EPA:
- Buyers often ask if a home has been tested, and if elevated radon levels have been reduced.
- Buyers frequently want tests made by someone who is not involved in the home sale. Your state radon office can assist you in identifying a qualified tester.
- Buyers might want to know the radon levels in less obvious areas of the home, such as a basement they’d like to refinish. Consider the various parts of your home when it comes to testing.
To find out more about testing for and eliminating radon in your home, visit epa.gov/radon.