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Have You Tested Your Home for Radon - Radon is the Second Leading Cause of Lung Cancer

Release Date: 01/17/2006
Contact Information: Donna Heron, (215) 814-5113

PHILADELPHIA – It’s New Year’s resolution time again. And right up there with starting an exercise program and quitting smoking should be getting your home tested for radon.

January is Radon Action Month. Because families spend more time indoors during the winter months, January is a good time to test for this radioactive, invisible, and odorless gas.

According to EPA estimates, 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year are radon-related and about 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and it is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It is harmless when dispersed into outdoor air. But when it becomes trapped inside buildings, it can be harmful at elevated levels. It typically moves up through the ground to the air in your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. This means any home can have a radon problem, whether it is new or old, well-sealed or drafty, with or without basements.

Radon test kits are easy to use and inexpensive. They are available at any hardware store or home improvement center. For best results, EPA recommends that the radon test be conducted in the lowest livable level of the home, such as the basement, during the colder months of the year. Tests can also be taken during other times of the year if windows and doors have been closed for 12 hours prior to testing.

EPA recommends that houses with radon levels of four picocuries or more of radon should be vented to prevent accumulation of the gas indoors. A variety of methods can be used to reduce radon in homes. Sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation is a basic part of most approaches to radon reduction. EPA does not recommend the use of sealing alone to limit radon entry. Sealing alone has not been shown to lower radon levels significantly or consistently.

In most cases, a system with a vent pipe and fan is used to reduce radon. These “sub-slab depressurization” systems do not require major changes to your home. They prevent radon gas from entering the home from below the concrete floor and from outside the foundation.

The cost of making repairs depends on how your home was built and the extent of the radon problems. Most homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs like painting or having a new hot water heater installed. The average price for a contractor ranges from $500 and $2,500.

To learn more about how to receive a discounted radon home test kit or for more information about radon, and how to contact your state radon office, go to , or call 1-800-SOS-Radon.



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