Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is invisible, odorless, and tasteless. Radon is released harmlessly from the ground into outdoor air, but it can accumulate and reach harmful levels when trapped in homes and buildings.
Testing is the only way to know if a home has an elevated level of radon. Affordable do-it-yourself radon test kits are available online and at most home improvement and hardware stores. EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend taking action to fix your home if the radon level is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air or more. Most homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs. Taking action to reduce your exposure to radon is a long-term investment in your families’ health and your home.
The NC Radon Program has a limited amount of free short-term radon test kits for the citizens of North Carolina during the month of January. Kits can be requested here. Short-term radon test kits can also be purchased for between $18 and $25 from different suppliers as listed here, under ‘home radon testing.’ Additional information can be found here.