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EPA Wants Public to Take Action Against Radon Risks


January is National Radon Month and the EPA is encouraging everyone to test and take preventive measures to reduce the radon threat. Radon is an invisible radioactive gas that travels up from underground sources of uranium in the earth’s crust. Radon can seep into homes undetected through foundation cracks, and can reach harmful levels if trapped indoors.

EPA estimates that one in 15 homes will have a radon level of four PicoCuries per liter (pCi/L) of air or more, a level the agency considers high. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking.

Based on the national radon map, all EPA Region 10 states (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington) have areas with elevated radon levels. In existing homes, families can begin protecting themselves by buying an easy-to-use radon test kit to determine if a high level exists; if so, a high level might be lowered simply with a straight-forward radon venting system installed by a contractor. In new homes, builders can easily and economically include radon-resistant features during construction, and home buyers should ask for these. EPA also recommends that home buyers ask their builder to test for radon gas before they move in.

“In our national drive to reduce greenhouse gases by making our homes greener, we shouldn’t forget that they can’t truly be green without being safe places for people to live,” said Marcus Peacock, EPA’s deputy administrator. “It’s remarkably easy to protect our loved ones by testing for radon and building new homes with radon-resistant features that allow everyone to breathe freely and safely.”

As part of an effort called Radon Leaders Saving Lives, EPA is working with state and local governments, non-profit organizations, and radon professionals across the country to educate consumers about ways to reduce radon in existing and new homes. Moreover, everyone can be a radon leader and help save a life by telling a friend or neighbor about preventing lung cancer from breathing radon.


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