Radon: A Danger in Your Home

By Rebecca Morley, Executive Director, National Center for Healthy Housing Captain Susan M. Conrath, PhD, MPH, U.S. Public Health Service, Environmental Protection Agency

Posted on | By Rebecca Morley

Taking the Time to Test Your Home for Radon Could Save the Lives of You and Your Loved Ones


Most everyone knows that the sun gives off natural radiation, which can damage your eyes and skin. And, most people take action to protect themselves and their children from the sun’s rays. But did you know that the earth gives off natural radiation too, which can seep into your home and become an indoor air hazard for your family? This form of radiation is called radon gas and it comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil.

Radon is all around us, but when it is trapped indoors, it becomes a serious health concern. In fact, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer among smokers and the top cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. It is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year — killing more people than even drunk driving. 

Radon is invisible and odorless and can appear in any type of home: old, new, with or without a basement. High indoor radon levels have been found in every state. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates about 1 in 15 homes have high levels of radon. That’s about 8 million homes with high levels.

Article written by Rebecca Morley
Executive Director, National Center for Healthy Housing