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.