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What is Radon?

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Radon is a colorless, odorless and radioactive gas, as well as the leading cause of lung cancer in the nonsmokers. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated January as National Radon Action Month. For these reasons, it’s important to know how radon can impact your home and your family.

Radon is naturally occurring and is created by the breakdown of uranium in soil rocks and water. As a result, radon can make its way into any building or environment—but the largest exposure area is your home. Because the air pressure in a home is usually lower than the pressure in the soil around the foundation, your home can act like a vacuum and draw radon in through any cracks in your foundation.

However, the specific levels of radon in your home can vary by day, season and geographic area. Unfortunately, you aren’t completely safe from radon if there are no cracks in your home or its foundation—the gas may also be present in your water source and can consequently be ingested when drinking or released into the air when water is used for general household purposes.

Thankfully, it’s easy to test your home’s radon levels. Radon test kits can be obtained through the mail and at some hardware stores. Additionally, it’s also possible to contact a certified radon specialist to test your home for you. There are two common types of tests—a short-term test, which stays in your home for two to 90 days, can be a great way to get a quick idea of your home’s radon levels. However, if you want to get a better idea of your home’s levels, you can also purchase a long-term test.

If your home contains a dangerously high amount of radon, you may need to install a removal system to ventilate the gas outside.

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