Who’s at risk?
Radon is a radioactive gas. It’s colorless, odorless, tasteless, and chemically inert. Nearly one out of every 15 homes has a radon level EPA considers elevated – 4 pCi/L or greater. Unless you test for it, there’s no way of telling how much is present. New and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements can have a problem. Homes below the third floor of a multi-family building are particularly at risk. The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. If you smoke and you’re exposed to elevated radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.
Know the facts about radon and reduce your risk:
- Most indoor radon comes into the building from the soil or rock beneath it, moving through cracks and other openings. Once inside, the radon can become trapped and concentrated. Openings which commonly allow easy flow of the gases include:
Cracks in floors and walls
Gaps in suspended floors
Openings around sump pumps and drains
Cavities in walls
Joints in construction materials
- Indoor radon levels vary from building to building. Do not rely on radon test results taken in other buildings in the neighborhood – even ones next door – to estimate the radon level in your building.
- The only way to determine the level of radon in a home is to test. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.
- For a free brochure on radon, or for information on ordering a low-cost test kit, call the National Safety Council’s automated Radon Hotline at 800.767.7236. You can also call 800.557.2366, to speak with our information specialists between 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Eastern) on business days.
Content used with permission from the National Safety Council, a membership organization dedicated to protecting life and promoting health.
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This content was last modified on: 08/11/2008