The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages everyone to test their homes for radon, especially during the winter when levels are at their highest and people spend more time indoors with windows and doors closed tightly. Radon, an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas, is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer in general. Unsafe levels of radon can lead to serious illness and it is estimated that radon in indoor air causes nearly 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States. In Virginia, an estimated 670 people (3.19% of the national average) are believed to die each year from radon-related lung cancer.
People can lower their health risks from radon by making simple fixes in a home or building:
- Seal cracks in floors and walls to reduce radon. More severe cases may require the installation of fans and piping to vent unsafe levels of radon to the outside environment.
- Use a radon kit to test your home’s radon levels. Test kits are simple to use and cost approximately $20; most are available in most home improvement centers and hardware stores.