What is radon and why should you care?
Winter is the best time to test
If you are like most people, you probably haven’t heard of radon, much less thought about how it might impact you and your family. But there are many reasons why you should think about this naturally occurring gas.
What is radon?
Radon is an invisible and odorless radioactive gas created by the decay of certain minerals in the ground and released into the air we breathe. Because radon comes from the environment, your exposure to it varies by location. Different regions of Washington have different amounts of radon because of their geology. This map shows the different radon levels in Washington state.
Why does radon matter?
Radon is the single largest source of radiation exposure for almost everyone in Washington. As a result, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. The presence of radon raises the risk of lung cancer by ten times for smokers!
Radon can collect in homes and other buildings, particularly on lower floors, as it comes up from the ground. The more time you spend in a building with elevated radon levels, the higher your exposure and risk of developing lung cancer. Since we are all spending more time at home these days, making sure your home has safe levels of radon is more important than ever.
How do you know if your home has unsafe levels of radon?
Radon testing is easy and inexpensive. Testing kits are available at home improvement stores or online. Just set them up and wait, then send them off for analysis to determine if your home has elevated radon levels. Winter is the best time to test, too!
Even if your house is not in a high radon area, or if your neighbor’s house had safe levels of radon it’s still a good idea to test. Buildings can trap radon at different rates, based on construction, condition, and ventilation.
What can you do if your home tests high for radon?
There are many ways to reduce radon levels in your home that are usually not expensive or difficult. If you find elevated levels in your home, contact a certified radon mitigation company to learn more about what you can do to reduce your levels.
For more information about radon in Washington, visit DOH.Wa.gov/Radon.
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