Health experts warn Arizona residents about invisible threat of radon gas

Jan 16, 2024, 11:59 AM

A magnifying glass enlarges the word "cancer" on a newspaper...

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that causes lung cancer. (Pixabay Photo)

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — Health experts are warning Arizona residents about the invisible threat of radon gas, a naturally occurring substance known to cause lung cancer.

“Radon is undetectable by someone living in their home,” Nick Torres of the American Lung Association (ALA) told KTAR News 92.3 FM while doing outreach for January’s National Radon Action Month. “You can’t smell it, can’t see it, but it’s the number one cause of lung cancer among people who don’t smoke.”

Potentially unsafe levels of radon have been detected in about 15% of homes in the state, according to the ALA’s 2023 State of Lung Cancer report.

What is radon gas, and how is it detected?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that results from the breakdown of uranium in soil. It is responsible for lung cancers that kill an estimated 21,000 people per year in the U.S., according to the ALA.

Radon levels can vary from state to state, county to county and even from home to home within a neighborhood, Torres said.

The odorless, tasteless and colorless gas can only be detected through testing.

“We’re really encouraging everyone to get tested,” Torres said. “If you had your home tested in the past, we actually encourage folks to go back and retest periodically, as well, as homes’ foundations can shift sometimes.”

Foundation cracks or basement renovations are among the factors that can change radon levels in a home, Torres said.

How can Arizona residents test for radon gas?

The ALA says do-it-yourself test kits are effective and relatively inexpensive.

“You can also reach out to a licensed radon professional,” Torres said. “Many contractors are certified for radon, and they can test and really share more details with homeowners on an individual basis.”

A list of radon-certified Arizona contractors can be found on the state Department of Health Services website.

What should Arizonans do if their homes have high radon gas levels?

Residents who get readings that exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s action level should pursue professional mitigation services.

“It’s really as simple as taking the trapped radon gas from around the foundation and piping it outdoors,” Torres said. “So, once the radon is piped outdoors, it’s really not a danger to folks in your homes.”

Torres said the mitigation process could cost from $1,000 to $2,000.

“That’s really a low cost if we’re considering the drastic implications for high levels of radon,” he said. “We want everyone to avoid a potential lung cancer diagnosis.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Kate Ourada contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Water conservation rebate program expanding in city of Surprise...

Serena O'Sullivan

City of Surprise offering new water rebates for turf removal, landscapes and irrigation controllers

The city of Surprise is expanding its water conservation rebate program. These rebates are available through May 1, 2026.

6 hours ago

Fatal Phoenix hit-and-run still at large, MCSO says...

Serena O'Sullivan

Truck driver who struck jogger in fatal hit-and-run still at large, MCSO says

A jogger died after a hit-and-run in New River on Saturday at around 10 a.m. Officials have found the vehicle but not the suspect.

8 hours ago

Phoenix apartment complex pool...

Child in critical condition after being pulled from Phoenix apartment complex pool

A four-year-old girl is in critical condition after drowning in a Phoenix apartment complex pool on Sunday afternoon, officials said.

10 hours ago

Ted Kleca was last seen on Sunday at around 3 a.m., officials said. (Chandler Police Department pho...

Serena O'Sullivan

Silver Alert issued for missing Chandler man with cognitive condition

The Arizona Department of Public Safety issued a Silver Alert on Sunday for a 76-year-old Chandler man with a cognitive condition.

11 hours ago

A portion of UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s campus in Minnetonka, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)...

Tom Kuebel

Cyber attack on health insurance provider could prevent Arizonans from getting prescriptions

A cyber attack against Change Healthcare has prevented some patients from being able to fill prescriptions at local pharmacies.

11 hours ago

File photo of a Valley Metro Tempe Streetcar. Officials are encouraging people to use mass transit ...

1 woman killed, another injured in crash involving a light rail train in Phoenix

One woman was killed and another was injured in a crash involving a light rail car in Phoenix on Saturday night.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Health experts warn Arizona residents about invisible threat of radon gas