What is Radon?
Radon is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. The only way to know if your home has elevated levels of radon is to test for it. While it is naturally found outdoors, the way we build and live in our homes allow it to build up to dangerous levels inside.
Radon is estimated to cause about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year, according to EPA's 2003 Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003). The numbers of deaths from other causes are taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2005-2006 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Report and 2006 National Safety Council Reports.
Radon in Iowa
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a recommended radon action level of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). They recommend that all Iowa homes be tested for radon and homes over 4 pCi/L be fixed.
Iowa has the highest percentage of homes above 4 pCi/L in the nation. The average indoor radon level in Iowa is 8.5 pCi/L, more than six times the national average of 1.4 pCi/L. Even radon levels below 4 pCi/L pose some risk, and in many cases can be reduced.
Health Risk Associated with Radon
* Assumes constant lifetime exposure in homes at these levels.
** Estimates are subject to uncertainties as discussed in Chapter VIII of the risk assessment.
*** BEIR VI did not specify excess relative risks for current smokers.
The average indoor level of radon in the United States if 1.4 pCi/L. The average indoor radon level in Iowa is 8.5 pCi/L, more than six times the national average. The United States' Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that when radon levels are above 4 pCi/L, that you take action to reduce the level of radon in your home. There is no safe level of radon. EPA also recommends that you consider taking action when levels are between 2 to 4 pCi/L, weighing the cost of mitigation versus the potential health risk. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended a level of 2.7 pCi/L as the level to take action.
How do I test my home?
Do-it-yourself test kits can also be purchased at Linn County Public Health, 501 13th Street NW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cash, check, and credit card are accepted. If you have any questions on how to use the test kits, please contact us at (319) 892-6000 or visit our radon ordering instruction page by clicking HERE.