Radon has been identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States (second only to smoking.) The Environmental Protection Agency reports that radon causes between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the United States.
Every home should be tested for radon regardless of where the home is located, the age of the home, foundation type, or whether or not the home is in an area where homes are “prone to having radon problems.” Homes with elevated radon levels have been found in practically every county in the United States.
Radon is naturally occurring, odorless, and colorless gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Because radon is a gas, it can enter buildings through openings or cracks in the foundation. The radon gas itself decays into radioactive solids, called radon daughters. The radon daughters attach to dust particles in the air, and can be inhaled. The inhalation of radon daughters has been linked to lung cancer.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has established that if a home or building is found to have a radon level of 4 pCi/l or higher, action should be taken to reduce it. In most cases, radon levels can be reduced to 2 pCi/l or lower with the installation of an active (fan-assisted) venting system.