Your home is your haven. It is the place you come to at the end of the day for rest and rejuvenation. It is a sanctuary to alleviate stress from a hard day’s work. It is the relaxing place to sleep peacefully through the night in order to rebuild your strength mentally and physically. Isn’t it?

This is what I hope my home to be. Some days it feels like this and some days the craziness of life creeps in through the door. The bottom line is that we can choose to make our homes healthy zones. With a bit of research and effort, we can make sure that silent, invisible threats, like radon, do not affect our health.

What is Radon?

Radon is an odorless, radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well- sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.

Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels.

Why is Radon harmful to your health?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. Its presence in your home can pose a danger to your family’s health. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims about 20,000 lives annually.”

“Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America.”

When should you test for radon in your home?

The EPA suggests that everyone test their home for radon. You should put it at the top of your list if you live in a high radon area, if your basement is finished, or if you have a bedroom on ground level or lower.

A Citizen’s Guide to Radon: The Guide to Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Radon is available on the Environmental Protection Agency website.

Testing for Radon is easy. Just follow this checklist.

Take one item per day and find out if you family is at risk for radon exposure.