During National Radon Action Month, recognized in January, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency encourages Americans around the country to test their homes for radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer.
“Radon exposure is one of the most important public health issues affecting Americans today,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Nearly 21,000 people die each year from lunch cancer caused by exposure to radon. Each January, EPA recognizes National Radon Action Month by spreading awareness of prevention and mitigation methods that will save lives. I encourage everyone to take time this January to test and prevent radon exposure in their home.”
EPA’s radon program began more than 30 years ago as the scientific and public health community began to understand the risks associated with indoor radon exposure. Since then, elevated radon levels have been fixed in about 2 million U.S. homes and millions more have been tested. In many states, radon testing has become a standard part of real estate transactions. However, EPA estimates that about 7 million high-radon homes remain across the U.S.
Testing is the only way to know if a home has an elevated level of radon. Affordable do-it-yourself radon test kits are available online and at most home improvement and hardware stores. Homeowners can also hire a qualified radon professional to test their homes. EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend taking action to if the radon level is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air or more.
Taking action to reduce exposure to radon is a long-term investment in families’ health and homes. The cost of reducing radon in the home depends on how the home was built and the extent of the radon problem. Most homes, however, can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs.
For more information on testing and contact information for radon resources visit www.epa.gov/radon/find-information-about-local-radon-zones-and-state-contact-information.