The Source of Radon
Radon is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas. It is a naturally occurring gas due to the breakdown of uranium in soils, rocks, and water.
Radon In the Home
Radon can enter your home from surrounding soils through cracks and other holes in your home's foundation. Radon is then trapped within the home and testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk of exposure.
Health Effects of Radon
There are no short-term health effects associated with radon. However, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and Surgeon General, prolonged exposures to high concentrations over time may attribute to lung cancer. Thus, exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.
Testing for Radon
Testing is as simple as opening a package, placing a radon detector in your home in an appropriate area, and after the recommended number of days, sealing the detector back in the package and mailing it to the lab for analysis. The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest sells short-term and long-term Radon Test Kits through the Indiana Radon Hotline at 1-800-272-9723.
Short-term kits are $15.00 which includes postage to the lab and the lab analysis fee.
Long-term kits are $25.00 which includes the lab analysis fee but NOT postage to the lab.
Test kits can also be purchased at your local hardware stores or from a licensed radon tester.
Using Contractors to Test
There are also private contractors that can test for radon. A list of certified radon testers for the State of Indiana is available online.
Explaining the Results of Testing
Radon is found in outdoor air and in the indoor air of buildings of all kinds. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends homes be fixed if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or more. Because there is no known safe level of exposure to radon, EPA also recommends that Americans consider fixing their home for radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L.
The average radon concentration in the indoor air of America's homes is about 1.3 pCi/L. It is upon this level that EPA based its estimate of 20,000 radon-related lung cancers a year. It is for this simple reason that EPA recommends that Americans consider fixing their homes when the radon level is between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. The average concentration of radon in outdoor air is .4 pCi/L or 1/10th of EPA's 4 pCi/L action level.
Fixing (Mitigating) Radon Levels
A list of certified radon mitigators for the State of Indiana is available online and for a wealth of additional information concerning radon please visit the EPA's webpage about radon.