Radon gas is tasteless, odorless and colorless. If it seeps into your home, it doesn’t give you symptoms like headaches or dizziness. The only way to detect it is through testing.
Nebraska ranks as one of the highest states in the nation for elevated radon concentrations. More than half of radon tests in the state are above the action level of 4.0 pCi/L., according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
It’s important to test your home before you buy it. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you re-test your home every two years to make sure radon levels remain below 4.0 pCi/L.
When purchasing a new home, DHHS recommends that the house be tested for radon by a licensed radon testing professional “to ensure a quality, unbiased, third-party test. Most professionals have equipment that is tamper-resistant, ensuring that nothing has happened to disturb the test. Using a professional often means that there is no question about the accuracy of a test result.”
If you’re re-testing your home, a licensed professional can conduct the test. You also can purchase a radon testing kit available from home improvement or hardware stores or from a national program such as Kansas State University’s National Radon Program Services.
Other radon-specific publications can be found at http://www.epa.gov/radon.
The EPA, World Health Organization, Surgeon General and the American Cancer Society agree that radon is carcinogenic. It’s the second-leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking. And it’s the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Radon is estimated to cause about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year, according to the EPA’s Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes publication. The numbers of deaths from other causes shown in the graph are from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention.