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Radon

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.

If you have additional questions about radon in your home, please contact Mark Jones at markejones@utah.gov or call (801)-538-6191.
When uranium, radium, or thorium found in the soil, rocks, or groundwater break down, they release a radioactive gas called radon. Because radon has no color, taste, or smell, it can only be detected through proper testing. People are primarily exposed to radon by unknowingly breathing it in the air that comes through cracks and gaps in buildings and homes.
Long-term exposure to radon increases the risk of lung cancer. In the United States, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer overall. Each year about 21,000 people in the United States die of lung cancer that is attributed to radon exposure.

Furthermore, the combination of smoking and radon exposure 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. If 1,000 non-smokers were exposed to the same level of radon as a group of 1,000 smokers over a lifetime, only 36 non-smokers would be at risk for lung cancer compared to the shocking 260 smokers that would be likely to develop lung cancer.
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. For a closer look at radon issues in Utah, please read the Radon in Utah report.
  • Smoking is by far the greatest risk factor for developing lung cancer. Harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage lung cells which can lead to cancer.
  • People over age 65. Most lung cancers are diagnosed in those aged 65 and older.
  • People exposed to a combination of risk factors. For example, exposure to a combination of smoking and radon creates a greater risk than either factor alone.
  • Workers in certain occupations, such as construction and chemical industries, have an increased risk for lung cancer due to exposure to chemicals or asbestos.
  • Although certain factors increase the risk, radon exposure is found throughout the country. Homes with high levels of radon have been found in every state; no one is exempt.
Utah residents, order radon test kits here: Visit the Utah Radon Program website and click the "Order Radon Test Kit" link on the righ 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:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides the following guidelines for conducting a radon test in your home: 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 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 $1,200 and $2,500. 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." Other ways you can take action to lower radon levels in your home:
  • Natural ventilation (opening windows)
  • Forced ventilation (utilizing fans to maintain a desired air exchange rate)
  • Heat recovery ventilation (replaces radon-laden air with outdoor air)
  • Covering exposed earth (reduces flow of radon into the home)
  • Sealing cracks and openings (reduces the flow of radon to the home)


Policies and Recommondations
States play a vital role in reducing radon exposure. Many states have policies and practices or recommendations in place to protect against radon exposure in the home:
  • Radon-resistant construction codes: some states require that new homes be built radon-resistant. Regardless of whether it was built to be radon-resistant or not, all homes should be tested after occupancy.
  • State licensing of radon professionals: properly installed radon detection systems by trained professionals can reduce household radon levels by 99%.
  • Radon notification to home buyers: the U.S. EPA recommends testing all homes for radon before they are sold. Not every state has laws in place to require this, but it is the responsibility of both the buyer and the seller to ensure that the home has been tested for radon and the information disclosed.
  • Radon notification to home renters: only 4 states require landlords to provide renters with radon information. If a state does not, it is recommended that renters seek to obtain information about the radon level in the rental property.


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.

Radon Data Query - Average Radon Levels


Radon Data Query - Percent of Tests Above Action Level


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The Utah EPHT Network receives data from the Division of Radiation Control of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

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The links listed below redirect you to health assessments that have been conducted in Utah that are relevant to radon. The Utah APPLETREE program at the Utah Department of Health is responsible for evaluating and responding to environmental public health issues in Utah. For more information, please visit the Utah APPLETREE website.

The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site (http://epht.health.utah.gov). The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Wed, 19 September 2018 7:14:14 from Utah Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: http://epht.health.utah.gov ".

Content updated: Fri, 10 Aug 2018 16:10:25 MDT