Test Your Home For Radon
January is Radon Action Month and an opportune time for Nebraskans to test for radon in their homes, according to the state's top health official. During winter homes are closed up and can trap the toxic gas.
"Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for people who have never smoked," said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. "It's important that every home be tested for it."
Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is present at high levels in half of Nebraska homes.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon-related, second only to tobacco-related lung cancer deaths.
Radon comes from the decay of naturally occurring uranium in the earth's soil and can accumulate indoors to dangerous levels. It can enter homes through cracks or holes in concrete floors or walls, sump pits, and drinking water from private wells. Once trapped inside an enclosed space, radon can accumulate.
The EPA recommends that houses with radon levels of 4 picocuries per liter of air or more be fixed to reduce risk of developing lung cancer.