Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that you can't see, taste or smell. It is produced by the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It can seep up through your foundation and into your home's environment without you noticing.
The EPA recommends that you know what the indoor radon level is in any home you are considering buying. Ask the seller for their radon test results. If the home has a radon-reduction system, ask the seller for information they have about the system.
If the home has not yet been tested, you should have the house tested.
If you are having a new home built, there are features that can be incorporated into your home during construction to reduce radon levels.
These radon testing guidelines have been developed specifically to deal with the time-sensitive nature of home purchases and sales, and the potential for radon device interference. These guidelines are slightly different from the guidelines in other EPA publications which provide radon testing and reduction information for non-real estate situations.
The EPA recommends that you test your home before putting it on the market and, if necessary, lower your radon levels. Save the test results and all information you have about steps that were taken to fix any problems. This could be a positive selling point.
If you find that you have high radon levels, there are ways to fix a radon problem. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.
Radon is estimated to cause 21,000 to 35,000 of deaths a year. That's because when you breathe air containing radon, your breathing a poisonous radioactive gas that damages DNA molecules in your lung cells and this can lead to lung cancer. The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.