Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can also enter your home through well water.
Any home can have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes and homes with or without basements. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home. That is where you spend most of your time. Nearly one out of every 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have an elevated radon level (4pCi/L or more).
Radon cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, but it may be a problem in your home. When air that contains radon is breathed, you increase your risk of getting lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General of the United States has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today.
The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes for radon. The EPA recommends that a home is fixed if the radon level is 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) or more. Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases may be reduced.