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Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. - Act now to reduce risk

Release Date: 01/08/2010
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543, smith.bonnie@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (Jan. 7, 2010) Although testing for radon is easy and inexpensive, 80 percent of the homes in the U.S. have not been tested. Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that EPA has reported as causing 20,000 lung cancer deaths nationwide every year.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking. January is the best time to test for radon now that doors and windows are all tightly closed. Now is the time to test and if needed, reduce your exposure to radon. That’s why EPA designated January ‘radon action month.’

High radon levels have been found throughout EPA's mid-Atlantic region, which includes Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon is to test your home for radon or have it tested by a certified professional radon tester. For do-it-yourselfers, radon kits can be purchased for $25 at building supply, hardware and general merchandise stores. A basic test takes 10 minutes to set up and when complete is mailed to a lab for analysis.

If test results are above the EPA recommended action level you need to have the radon level reduced by a certified radon ‘mitigator.’ Reducing radon is not technically difficult and costs approximately $800 - $2,500.

To locate professional radon testers and certified radon ‘mitigators’ near you by look on the web at either the “National Environmental Health Association” or “National Radon Safety Board” sites. Be sure to ask to see their credentials.

Radon is a radioactive gas produced from the uranium which is in the geological formation under the soil. The amount or radon gas varies depending on the amount of uranium in the formation. The type of soil under the house, the design of the house and the life style or the family living in the house all affect the amount of radon gas that enters a home.

For more info on radon:


    EPA’s National Radon Hotline, 1-800-438-2474
    For lists of certified testers and mitigators use the web to search for the “National
    EPA’s radon website http://www.epa.gov/radon/radontest.html.Environmental Health Association” and/or “National Radon Safety Board”.
    EPA’s mid-Atlantic region, 1-800-438-2474
    The National Environmental Publications Center, 1-800-490-9198 or http://www.epa.gov/cinc. They have “Citizens Guide to Radon” and “Home Buyers and Sellers Guide”

    Editor’s Note: See EPA’s website for free, publically-available graphics about radon and public Service announcements for print, television, and radio at http://www.epa.gov/radon.