Lung cancer takes more lives per year than any other type of cancer, which is why it’s important to understand the facts and figures of lung cancer in your state. We’re here to break down a few lung cancer facts in Idaho so you can stay safe and healthy.

1. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer

Smoking is notorious for causing lung cancer, but did you know radon exposure kills 21,000 Americans annually? Radon is a radioactive gas that is created when uranium in the ground decays. Idaho has uranium all throughout the state, and 40% of homes tested in Idaho have high radon levels. Radon can’t be detected by your senses, so it’s important to perform a radon test to ensure you are not exposed to high levels for a prolonged period of time. Click here for a free radon test.

2. Idaho has a below-average rate of cancer treatment

According to the American Lung Association’s State of Lung Cancer report, 23.7% of lung cancer cases in Idaho don’t receive any treatment. This rate is significantly higher than the national rate of 20.6%. People may not receive treatment for various reasons, including having a significantly progressed disease or not having access to treatment. It’s important to raise awareness for lung cancer so it can be detected early and treatments can become more accessible.

3. New technology can help with early detection and treatment of lung cancer

Saint Alphonsus Hospital is the first Idaho hospital to use new state-of-the-art robotic technology to detect and treat lung cancer. The new ion robotic bronchoscopy platform allows physicians to look at the lung’s deepest tissue in a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. According to Dr. John East, Saint Alphonsus Medical Group’s Medical Director for Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, “This system is going to allow us to diagnose lung abnormalities early and to diagnose lung cancer when it is at an earlier stage when the treatment is more effective and cure rates are higher.”

Radon is a radioactive gas that causes 21,000 deaths per year, and many Idahoans don’t know that they are exposed to radon until it’s too late. While radon is dangerous and life-threatening, by staying informed with important facts about radon you can protect yourself and your loved ones. 

We’re here to help you understand three important facts about radon so you can get ahead of any potential radon exposure.

1. Radon can’t be detected by your senses

Similar to carbon monoxide, radon can’t be tasted, smelled, or seen, which makes it particularly dangerous. The only way to know if your home has high radon levels is to perform a radon test. Per the U.S. Surgeon General, you should perform a radon test every two years. These tests are simple—and you can get a free test on us here

2. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers

When radon is breathed in over a prolonged period of time, it changes the DNA in your lungs and can lead to cancer. Radon causes 21,000 deaths annually because it is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the number two cause in smokers. Even more, if you smoke and are exposed to radon over a long period of time, your risk is compounded. Due to this risk, it’s important to keep up on your radon testing schedule.

3. Radon levels fluctuate throughout the year

Radon levels are higher in the winter and lower in the summer, which is why it is important to alternate the seasons you test in. Due to snow, air pressure, and other factors, radon is able to concentrate more in colder months, which is also when people are spending more time inside. If you have only ever tested your home in the summer, make sure to perform your next test in the winter.

To receive a free radon test from Idaho Radon Services, click here.

Radon is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that rises from the ground when uranium in the soil decays. Uranium is present in high levels in Idaho, which means radon gas is also present across the state. Although we are frequently exposed to low levels, it can become dangerous when breathed in over a prolonged period.

Why should I care about it?

When this gas enters buildings, it can concentrate to dangerously high levels our senses can’t detect. When we breathe in it over a long period, we are at risk of developing lung cancer and other diseases. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and takes the lives of over 21,000 people annually. If you smoke, your risk is even higher if you are exposed to it, too. 

What can be done about radon? 

If you are building a new home, you can proactively have a mitigation system installed to reduce the amount of deadly gas that ever enters the home. If you live in a preexisting home, the first step is to test your home to see if you have high levels. You can request a free test kit by filling out the form on this page. If your home tests high for radon, you can install a mitigation system to lower the exposure to a safer level. 

Radon is a radioactive gas that is the leading cause of cancer in non-smokers. In Idaho, two in five homes (40%) have high, dangerous radon levels—and you can’t detect it with your senses. Get tested, then consider a Radon mitigation system in Idaho if you have high levels.

So, what kinds of homes are at risk of high radon levels? You might be surprised to find that the age of your home does not have much of an impact.

Radon in old homes

It’s important to dispel the common misconception that radon can only infiltrate old homes. This is not the case. Radon is an equal-opportunity invader, entering homes through pores, cracks, and joints in the foundation. While older homes may have more cracks, they are not the only ones at risk. Newer homes, despite being more airtight, can also be susceptible to radon infiltration. 

Radon in new homes

Contrary to popular belief, newer, more airtight homes are not immune to radon. In fact, they can be more at risk due to the lack of air circulation. Radon can enter through small pores in new foundations, not just large cracks in old ones. However, the good news is that a radon mitigation system can be installed as a preventative measure during the construction of a new home, highlighting the proactive approach to radon prevention.

How to test for radon

The only way to know if your home has dangerous radon levels is to perform a test. You can request a free, simple radon test here. If your home tests high, we can help you decide on the best type of radon mitigation system in Idaho.

Before you order your free radon test in Idaho, you may be wondering how complex it is to test your home for radon. Have no fear! Testing your home for radon is fast and simple. Completing the test should only take 10–15 minutes of your time over 48 hours. 

Take a look at the instructions below, then click here to order your free radon test.

Step 1: Prepare your home

It’s important to close all exterior doors and windows at least 12 hours before starting the test and keep them closed during the entire test. You can open and close exterior doors to come and go, but you should not prop open doors or leave windows open.

Your home’s central air/heating systems can be used as normal with the fan on auto, but swamp coolers must be turned off for accurate results. If you have a swamp cooler, we recommend saving your test for cooler months when the swamp cooler can be completely turned off.

Step 2: Place the test

The Alpha Energy Labs instructions will ask you to register your test. We recommend doing this after you have conducted the test as you will need to provide the test start and stop times. We encourage you to write down the dates and times you start and stop your test so you don’t forget.

Your test should be placed in the lowest level of your home in a location where it will not be disturbed. A bedroom or living area is ideal, and you should not place it in a bathroom, kitchen, closet, or furnace room. 

Place the test on a chair or table 20–36 inches above the floor, at least 1 foot from an exterior wall, and at least 3 feet from a window. Leave the test for at least 48 hours, but no longer than 96 hours. We recommend setting a reminder alarm on your phone to notify you to stop the test in 48 hours.

Step 3: Submit the test information

You can submit your test information online or with the paper form included in your test kit. If you would like to submit it online, you can scan the QR code included in the test instructions and follow the prompts. If you submit online, you do not need to include the form with your test (and vice versa).

Step 4: Mail the test to the lab

Use the pre-paid label and mailer to send the test back to the lab. It’s crucial to send the test within 1–2 days of finishing the test. You will usually receive the test results within 1–2 weeks, and if your test results are high, we can provide a free, no-obligation quote for a radon mitigation system.

It’s that easy! If you have any questions about your radon test in Idaho, you can always call us at 208-225-8500.

At Idaho Radon Services, we want to ensure Idahoans are educated about radon and empowered to take the steps needed to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

What is radon?

Radon is naturally produced radioactive gas. It is created when uranium in the ground breaks down, and you cannot see, smell, or taste it. While it’s not a significant danger outdoors, it can enter your home through cracks and openings in the foundation and cause damage to your health. As radon is inhaled over a prolonged period, it damages the DNA in lung tissue and causes cancer. In fact, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and an estimated 21,000 Americans die from radon-induced lung cancer annually.

When do I need to be concerned about radon?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World Health Organization (WHO) have firm stances on when radon needs to be reduced in a home. To understand these, it’s important to have some basic information on how radon is measured and what levels are concerning. Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). The outside air has an average of 0.4 pCi/L of radon gas. While there is no safe radon level, the outside air doesn’t pose a substantial risk; however, when radon gas gets concentrated in a home, the risk for lung cancer increases substantially. 

The EPA recommends “considering” having a radon mitigation system installed in your home if the radon level is 2.0 pCi/L or higher. The recommendation to “consider” mitigation at 2.0 pCi/L or higher is primarily based on how much time is spent in the lowest level of the home. For example, if you have children sleeping on the lowest floor, it would be wise to have your home mitigated. On the other hand, if the lowest level of your home is an unfinished basement that is rarely occupied, you may choose not to have your home mitigated. 

The EPA also strongly recommends mitigation if your home tests at 4.0 pCi/L. A home with 4.0 pCi/L has the equivalent lung cancer risk of smoking 8 cigarettes a day or having 200 x-rays per year. The WHO recommends mitigating at 2.7 pCi/L or higher. While the two have slightly different recommendations, they are united in their message to test for radon and reduce the levels as low as possible. 

After you receive your radon test results, the EPA and WHO’s action levels can help you determine if you need a mitigation system installed. If your home tests high, you should consider how high the level is compared to how much time is spent on the lowest level. If your test results are below 2.7 pCi/L and you don’t spend time on the lowest level, it’s less urgent than if a home is above 4.0 pCi/L and a child’s bedroom is on the lowest floor.
You can request a free radon test here. If your home tests high, our team can talk you through your options for mitigation.

National Radon Action Month is when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raises awareness for radon exposure and radon-induced illness. Our team at Idaho Radon Services is here with three steps to take this month to help reduce radon-induced lung cancer deaths.

Step 1: Test your home for radon

Testing your home is simple and free! If you haven’t tested your home for radon within the last two years, click here to request a free test. Results will be emailed to you quickly, and if your home tests high, we can walk you through the mitigation process.

Step 2: Encourage a loved one to test for radon

Protecting a loved one from radon-induced lung cancer can be as simple as one post on social media. We’ve made it easy for you—simply copy and paste the message below and post it on your social media account of choice!

Did you know that 21,000 Americans die annually from radon-induced lung cancer? Radon can’t be detected in our homes by our senses alone, so if you haven’t tested your home in the last two years, there’s no better time to do so! To get a free test, go to idahoradonservices.com/radon-test 

Step 3: Set a reminder for your next radon test

Once you complete a radon test, or if you’ve tested within the last year or so, create a calendar event on your phone to remind you to test again two years after your last test. This is the recommended timeline by the U.S. Surgeon General, EPA, and Idaho Radon Services. If your last test was conducted in the summer, complete your next test in the winter (and vice versa). So take advantage of "National Radon Action Month" in the month of January.

Did you know radon levels fluctuate throughout the year? Keep reading to learn what you can do as radon levels increase in winter in Idaho.

What is radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas that rises from the ground when uranium decays. When it rises outdoors, it’s not much of a risk to those who breathe it in. However, when it rises indoors, concentrates, and is breathed in over a long period, it can cause lung cancer.

Why radon levels increase in the winter

During winter, the snow-capped ground reduces the amount of radon that can rise outside, leading to more radon rising indoors. Additionally, because the air is cold outside, most people shut their windows and doors, allowing less radon to escape the home. Finally, as warm air rises inside, a vacuum is created that pulls more radon out of the ground and inside the home.

What to do about winter radon levels

If you have only ever tested your home for radon in the summer, your next radon test should be completed in the winter. If you have never tested your home for radon, there’s no time like the present! Click here to request a free radon test from Idaho Radon Services. If your home tests high for radon, we can walk you through the process to have your home mitigated. And bookmark this article "Radon levels increase in winter in Idaho".

Many people think that if your home tests low for radon, it will always have a low radon level. Unfortunately, that’s not always true because radon levels can fluctuate over time.

Two in five Idaho homes tested for radon have high levels, and many people don’t know their levels have reached dangerous levels because radon can’t be detected with our senses alone. Over 21,000 people die each year from radon-induced lung cancer, and at Idaho Radon Services, we want to make sure you stay healthy.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Surgeon General guidance

From seasonality to structure changes in a home, many factors can impact why a radon level may rise or fall. Because of this, the EPA and former U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona recommend that homes be tested for radon every two years.

What do I do if my radon test results are high?

If your home tests high for radon, you should install a radon mitigation system. Depending on how high your home tests, a system may be more or less urgent. Once radon reaches 2.0 pCi/L, many leading health organizations recommend considering mitigation, and our team strongly recommends mitigation for anyone whose home tests at 2.7 pCi/L or higher. No matter what threshold you feel most comfortable with, your goal should always be to reduce radon levels as low as possible.

To keep Idahoans safe, we offer one free radon test to every household within 120 miles of Boise. Click here to request yours today! 

In the cold winter months, many Idahoans spend more time indoors to avoid the elements. Unfortunately, radon levels also surge indoors during the winter months, and Idaho residents need to make sure they are taking precautions to stay safe and healthy.

Why radon increases in the winter

When the ground freezes over, less radon can rise outside, and it therefore rises in higher concentrations indoors. Additionally, because the warmth in homes rises, it creates a phenomenon called “the stack effect” that pulls more air from the soil and into the home to equalize air. As if that wasn’t enough, to keep the chilly air outside, windows and doors stay shut tight, and the stack effect can increase even more. 

How to reduce radon in your home

It’s not uncommon for Idaho winters to last 5–6 months, which means there’s a significant amount of the year where radon exposure can increase. The most important thing you can do for the health of you and your loved ones is to test your home for radon. Our team at Idaho Radon Services offers a free test to all Idaho residents within 120 miles of Boise. All you need to do is fill out the form on this page! If your home tests high, we recommend installing a radon mitigation system to lower your home’s radon levels, and our team is happy to provide you with a free estimate.