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Invisible and Odorless, Radon Poses Risks to Lungs

h, which most homes do, then your home has a chance of having a high level of radon."

The best bet for protecting yourself and your family from long-term radon gas exposure is to check for high levels in the house.

"If one lives in an area where radon is prevalent, it's a good idea to have your home tested," Thun said.

The EPA recommends a two-level test for radon. First, a homeowner should buy a short-term test kit, a small device that is left in the house for two days to 90 days, depending on the kit.

The test kit, Miller said, should be put:

  • In a spot where it will have access to the same air that's inhaled by the home's occupants.
  • Away from doors and windows.
  • At a level that's not too high nor too low.
  • On a shelf or someplace where it won't be jostled.

At the end of the testing period, the homeowner sends the radon kit to a lab for analysis, Miller said.

If the test shows that the radon level registers at 4 picocuries per liter of air, a second test should be done, according to EPA recommendations. The follow-up test can be another short-term test or a long-term test, which takes more than 90 days. If the average of the two tests remains above 4 pCi/L, then the homeowner should consider having the house fixed.

This process, called radon mitigation, can cost from $800 to $2,500, depending on what must be done to the house, Miller said.

Workers will go through the house to seal up places through which radon can enter, including:

  • Cracks in walls and solid floors.
  • Gaps in construction joints and suspended floors.
  • Gaps around pipes.
  • Cavities inside walls.

Radon also can be vented away from the home using PVC pipes that are sunk into the ground. "You want to take that soil gas and vent it from underneath your home or foundation before it ever gets inside," Miller said.

People should re-test their houses for rado

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