Radon is a radioactive, toxic and colorless gas that is naturally occurring. It is found in soil, rock and water throughout the U.S. and can create health issues for many. According to the EPA, “radon 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.” (Source: http://www.epa.gov)
Since radon is odorless and colorless, testing your home is the only way to tell if you and those around you are at risk for radon poisoning. A trained contractor will be able to test your home for radon and during a home inspection, testing for radon should be done. If you prefer to test yourself, there are various simple home test kits that you can purchase at the hardware store. Follow the directions on the packaging for the proper placement of the device and where to send the device after the test to get your reading.
If your home is found to have elevated levels of radon, flushing out the air is key. Initially, locating and fixing cracks in the foundation and any other unsealed opening, is imperative. This will ensure future radon issues are reduced. Venting systems with pipes and fans can then be used to ensure the radon escapes your home completely.
Contact your local radon program office if you have further questions about radon, testing for radon or suspect that radon is in your home.