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Here’s what you need to know about radon in homes

(Pixabay Photo)

One in 15 homes in the United States has a silent killer lurking in the shadows. It is there when the homeowners return from work, cook dinner and spend time with loved ones. This silent killer is invisible, odorless, tasteless — and completely preventable — yet it kills more than 20,000 Americans a year.  

According to the U.S. surgeon general, radon is the leading cause of cancer among nonsmokers in the U.S., killing over 20,000 Americans annually.

The U.S. 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.

(Provided by Arizona Foundation Solutions)

Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon can be found all over the U.S. It can get into any type of building — homes, offices, and schools — and result in a high indoor radon level.

Radon can enter a home through cracks in the foundation floor and walls, basement floor drains and sump openings. Homes with dirt crawl spaces have increased radon exposure levels. However, even houses with a seemingly tight concrete foundation can have high radon levels.

We cannot smell, taste, see, touch or hear radon. Thus, it easily goes unnoticed. When this happens, everyone in the home becomes susceptible to contracting lung cancer. There are also very limited lung cancer symptoms.

Symptoms may include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Hoarseness
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Chest pain
  • Frequent infections like bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

Don’t wait, test and mitigate!

Radon is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L). A picocurie is one-trillionth of a curie (which is the amount of radioactivity emitted by one gram of radium).

The Environmental Protection Agency has established mitigation guidelines that recommend mitigation at levels above 4 pCi/L, while the World Health Organization has established remediation guidelines at 2 pCi/L.

According to Arizona Foundation Solutions, radon levels of 4 pCi/L is equal to smoking eight cigarettes a day. The U.S. Surgeon General has recommended that every home in the United States be tested for radon.

(Provided by Arizona Foundation Solutions)

Arizona Foundation Solutions, Arizona’s radon mitigation experts, offers affordable testing and mitigation options available for homes in all sizes. Visit  to learn more and schedule your radon mitigation appointment.

Radon FAQs

Q: Is radon REALLY a problem?

A: Yes. The Centers for Disease Control, American Lung Association and Environmental Protection Agency all agree that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths each year.

Q: My house is new/old. Do I really need to test?

A:  Yes. Old or new, the house itself may be trapping radon gas within its walls and exposing those residing inside to health hazards.

Q:  I do not have a basement or crawlspace. Do I need to be concerned about radon?

A: Yes; while home design (basement, crawl spaces, etc.) can have an impact on radon levels, radon has been found in homes of all types.

Q: At what level should we remediate?

A: The Environmental Protection Agency has established mitigation guidelines that recommend mitigation at levels above 4 pCi/L.

Q: Are radon mitigation systems expensive?

A: A radon mitigation system is affordable, and we have a financing option for those who qualify.

Check out Arizona Foundation Solutions’ website for more information.

Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 7 to 11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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