Utah residents, order radon test kits here: Visit the Utah Radon Program website and click the "Order Radon Test Kit" link on the right hand side of the page.
When uranium found in the soil breaks down, it releases a radioactive gas called radon. Because radon has no color, taste, or smell, it can only be detected through proper testing.
Long-term exposure to radon increases the risk of lung cancer. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Each year about 21,000 people in the United States die of lung cancer that is attributed to radon exposure. Furthermore, smoking and radon create a greater risk of lung cancer than either one alone. The risk of lung cancer from radon is almost 10 times higher for smokers compared to those who have never smoked.
Radon is a health hazard when it gets trapped inside homes or buildings. It accumulates in homes and buildings by seeping through cracks and holes in the foundation and becomes a part of the air we breathe. Without properly reducing radon levels, the risk of lung cancer increases.
Utah residents, order radon test kits here: Visit the Utah Radon Program website and click the "Order Radon Test Kit" link on the left hand side of the page.
Test your house for radon
A simple test will tell you if you need to take action to lower radon levels in your home. You can purchase test kits from local home improvement stores, the National Safety Council, and Utah's Division of Radiation Control. The test is inexpensive and easy, taking only 48 to 96 hours to complete.
How to use a radon test kit:"Follow the instructions that come with your test kit. If you are doing a short-term test, close your windows and outside doors and keep them closed as much as possible during the test. Heating and air-conditioning system fans that recirculate air may be operated. Do not operate fans or other machines which bring in air from outside. Fans that are part of a radon-reduction system or small exhaust fans operating only for short periods of time may run during the test. If you are doing a short-term test lasting just 2 or 3 days, be sure to close your windows and outside doors at least 12 hours before beginning the test, too. You should not conduct short term tests lasting just 2 or 3 days during unusually severe storms or periods of unusually high winds. The test kit should be placed in the lowest lived-in level of the home (for example, the basement if it is used frequently used, otherwise, the first floor). It should be put in a room that is regularly used (like a living room, playroom, den, or bedroom). Do not place the test kit in your kitchen or bathroom. Place the kit at least 20 inches above the floor in a location were it won't be disturbed - away from drafts, high heat, high humidity, and exterior walls. Leave the kit in place as long as the package says. Once you've finished the test, reseal the package and send it to the lab specified on the package right away for analysis. You should receive your test results within a few weeks.
If the test results measure 4.0 pCi/L (picocurites per liter of air) or higher, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you take action to lower radon levels in your home. A certified contractor may install a mitigation system, which usually costs between $800 and $2,000. A list of qualified mitigation contractors is available through the National Radon Proficiency Program, the National Radon Safety Board, or by going to the Utah Radon Program website and clicking on "Certified Mitigators/RRNC."
Do not smoke
Smoking greatly increases the risk of developing lung cancer from radon. People who smoke and are exposed to high levels of radon face an even higher risk of lung cancer.
The Utah EPHT Network receives data from the Division of Radiation Control of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.