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Homeowner Resources
What is Radon?
What are the Health Effects of Radon?
Where is Radon in the Home?
What to do with Radon in the Home?
Go to AccuStar for more Radon information and to see your testing kit results.
What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas released by the decay of uranium found in the Earth's crust. The decay of uranium produces radium which turns into radon gas when released in the air. Radon occurs naturally and forms in the air near the ground. Radon gas can accumulate in soil and drinking water.
What are the Health Effects of Radon?
High levels of radon exposure can give the lungs enough radiation to raise the risk of lung cancer. Radon is introduced into the lungs by breathing in contaminated air. Radon is believed to only cause cancer after several years of exposure. It is very unlikely for radon to cause health effects in outdoor environments because it can quickly disperse through the air. In indoor enviroments radon can hit dangerous levels since it can easily become trapped and accumulate. Lung cancer from radon has been linked mostly to miners who were exposed over long periods of time to radon gas. Tom Kelly, Director of EPA's Indoor Environments Division, relates these studies to residential homes by saying "these findings effectively end any doubts about the risks to Americans of having radon in their homes, we know that radon is a carcinogen."
Where is Radon in the Home?
Radon levels are generally highest in areas in close proximity to the ground with poor ventilation like basements. Any place in the home, for instance a crawl space, that air is easily trapped in are also areas that can have high radon levels. Radon enters buildings through sump pumps, cracks in the foundation, openings in basements, openings in walls, drains, and construction joints. Radon levels in ground water can also be high but usually radon is quickly released into air as soon as the ground water enters surface waters. Radon can occur in well water resulting in the exposure to radon through drinking water. The effects of radon in drinking water are unknown. Radium in the soil directly under a building is normally the major source of indoor radon. The amount of uranium in soil and rock is an important indicator of places where radon can be present. The concentration of radon in the indoor air depends on:
  • levels of radium in the soil under buildings
  • amount of places to enter buildings
  • poor ventilation in buildings to allow the accumulation of radon in the air we breathe

What to do with Radon in the Home?
Since radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas the only way to know if radon is in your home is to test for it. The EPA Citizen's Guide to Radon can educate you on tests available for measuring radon in the home. If you are buying a home you can have your home inspector perform a radon test during the home inspection. If your home tests positive for high levels of radon it is not difficult to remove or reduce the radon. There are systems that remove radon and keep radon from entering your home. Setting up and using these systems are simple and effective.

For more information on radon visit the Environmental Protection Agency website at
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