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Detecting Radon in Your Home

Radon gas is a natural product, but it’s not one you want in your green, eco-friendly home. Radon is colorless, odorless, and radioactive; that last one can cause health problems, such as lung cancer, if you breathe radon for prolonged periods.

Radon is produced when uranium in the earth decays and can seep up into homes through cracks in the foundation, dirt basements, and even well water. Radon gas is a very localized issue; it’s not unusual for houses in the same area to be affected differently, so it’s impossible to predict where problems will occur.

You can choose from two methods to check your home for radon:

  • Purchase a home test kit from a hardware store or other retail outlet.

    Follow the instructions in the kit carefully to get accurate results.

  • Hire a contractor who deals with radon gas identification.

    Your state environmental management or health agency can give you a list of qualified contractors. Find out who deals with radon in your state through the federal EPA Web site.

If radon is present, the most effective solution is to seal the basement properly and vent the radon so that the gas can no longer enter your home — this needs to be done by a radon-qualified contractor.

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