How I Tested My Home for Radon

By Jani Palmer

I used to be afraid to know if I had high radon levels in my home. I asked questions, I researched, I analyzed, I procrastinated, but the most important step was just doing it. Compared to a calculus exam or even a driving test, a radon test is hands down the easiest.

I live in an area known to have high radon levels, yet it took me nearly a year to test. Why? Probably because I rent my house. I felt a little helpless as to what I would do if I actually did have high radon. Despite my fears, I finally tested my home, and I’m so happy I did. It doesn’t matter if you live in an area that is geologically prone to have high radon levels; the only way to know is to test.

Here’s how I tested my home — it’s this easy:
Step 1: Ordered a radon test kit.
Step 2: Read the directions.
Step 3: Tested. For most tests, this means set it down for two days, retrieve it and mail it.

Seriously, what could be easier? If you don’t know where to start, visit EPA’s radon website. It’s packed with resources on everything from why testing is importing to how to fix your home. You also can call the radon hotline at 1-800-SOS-RADON. I ordered my test kit from a company that takes part in a national proficiency program that ensures testing laboratories are certified and are providing quality measurements. Visit their websites at National Environmental Health Association or National Radon Safety Board for contacts and additional information. A certified tester can even come to your home and test for you if you don’t want to do it yourself. Testing is just so easy. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in the U.S. among non-smokers. Don’t you want to know what is in your home?

About the author: Jani Palmer is a physical scientist in EPA’s Center for Radon and Air Toxics, Indoor Environments Division. She has been in the indoor air quality and industrial hygiene field for 10 years providing environmental consulting and services for school districts, industry and public agencies.

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