Test for Radon Gas in Your Home

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) provides valuable information on the dangers of radon in your home. Radon is an odorless, tasteless and invisi­ ble gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water. It is a form of ionizing radiation and a proven carcinogen. Every January is designated as Radon Awareness Month and is a good time to check your home for this danger.

image149-1Exposure to radon causes lung cancer in non­smokers and smokers alike. Lung cancer now surpasses breast cancer as the number one cause of death among women. A smoker who is also exposed to radon has a much higher risk of lung cancer. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non­smokers, according to EPA estimates. Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause.

Radon is found in the indoor air of build­ ings of all kinds. The average radon concen­ tration in the indoor air of American homes is about 1.3 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). A pCi is a measure of the rate of radioactive decay of radon. EPA recommends that Americans consider fixing their homes when the radon level is between 2 and 4 pCi/L.

Most indoor radon comes into your home from the soil or rock beneath it. Radon and other gases rise through the soil and get trapped under the building, building up pressure. They enter your home through cracks and cavities in floors and walls, around sump pumps and drains, joints in construction materials and gaps around pipes and wires.

The National Radon Program Services at Kansas State University offers discounted test kits available to purchase online. Go to http://sosradon.org/test-kits. Short­term test kits (3 to 4 days) are $15, which includes all costs. Long­term test kits (3 to 12 months) are $25. Once completed, you can use the test’s serial number to access your results at www.radon.com. You can also find the test kits at home improvement stores.