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Radon: What You Need to Know

Radon is a naturally occurring environmental toxin. It's the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and therefore worthy of our consideration. The good news is that this toxin is relatively easy to identify and mitigate.

  1. What is radon?

    Radon is a colorless, chemically unreactive inert gas. You cannot smell, see, or taste radon. It is the heaviest known gas, nine times denser than air, and occurs as part of the normal radioactive decay process. It enters our living spaces via the ground, groundwater, or building materials. Holes or cracks in the foundation may be a clue that radon is an issue.

    Radon Sources

  2. How do I know if we have a radon problem?

    Since human senses cannot detect radon, your environment must be tested. There are two types of tests: Long-term and short-term. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests these steps when evaluating your home or office:

    • Step 1: Take a short-term test. If your result is 4 pCi/L or higher, take a follow-up test (Step 2) to be sure.
    • Step 2: Follow up with either a long-term test or a second short-term test.

    If you need results quickly, the EPA suggests a second short-term test. If time is not an issue, the long-term test may offer a better understanding of the year-round radon average. For more information, see the EPA's A Citizen's Guide to Radon.

    Kansas State University offers affordable testing options at National Radon Program Services. Continuous monitoring is also available with devices such as the Safety Siren Pro Series HS71512 3 Radon Gas Detector.

  3. How can I reduce the levels of radon in my home or workplace?

    Because of the varied issues surrounding radon, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, there are several proven correction methods, including a vent pipe system and fan which pulls radon from underneath the building and vents it to the outside. Known as a Soil Suction Radon Reduction System, this option does not require major changes to the structure. When foundation cracks are sealed in addition to this measure, the radon levels can be significantly reduced.

    The EPA recommends contacting your state's radon program to find a qualified contractor near you. See their interactive map for state-by-state information.

    Other mitigation service providers may be found through either of these organizations:

    You can expect to pay between $500 and $2,500, depending on the size and design of your home or office building. Such an investment can go a long way toward protecting your health and well-being.


"We had some water leaks in our home... we never thought we needed to clean out and remove the floor, the ceiling, or the drywall... my two small children and I have remained constantly sick for years in this home."

– Mia

"My daughter started having digestive problems... heart palpitations... coughing episodes... muscle/joint pain... asthma/allergies... Her doctor finally advised me to check for mold in our home."

– Anonymous

"I've been living in a mold-infested home for 13 months... I was going CRAZY! Finally figured it out... Just a few days of recovering in a mold-free home and I feel AMAZING!!!"

– Lauren

"I knew it was mold, but doctors kept telling me I had anxiety. I was sitting in my office and could not remember who I was talking to, or what we were talking about."

– Brenda

"We all suffered from headaches, hormonal body temperature fluctuations, brain fog, fatigue, difficulty breathing, thrush, rashes, and yeast infections... we vacated our home two weeks ago."

– Anonymous

"The entire time we lived in our (mold-infested) house the kitchen sponge would get musty smelling within 3-4 days. It was so strange. I had to buy a pack of sponges nearly every week."

– Anonymous

"The ERMI mold test as well as your helpful articles and Toxic Talk Tuesday programs have helped us avoid a terrible mistake in purchasing a new home."

– Angela

" age 35 or 36 I started to become allergic to everything, and I got asthma at age 36... I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and was desperate for help, but nobody could help me."

– Mia

"We were having a lot of health problems and had been to the doctor countless times... we had large circles of slimy greenish-black mold on the bathroom ceiling, where it had caved in a few months before."

– C.

"I was skeptical at first that these (natural cleaning) products would work, but they work better than the stuff I buy at the store! We will soon be moving to the personal care products as well!"

– Jennifer

"My symptoms persisted and eventually turned into lethargy and depression. At the age of 26, I required a nap every evening after work."

– Jennifer

"Both of my sons went downhill quickly and coughed for months... They both lost their ability to read, had profound vision disturbances, and had phenomenal gastric issues."

– Lee

"Our family has been out of our home for 9 months due to mold... I am so scared and weak from all of this. We have lost friends; family members don't understand."

– Anonymous

"I have been sick for almost 6 months now and doctors were not able to figure out why. I finally put it all together after going away for vacation for a week and suddenly my symptoms were going away."

– Anonymous

"I'm new at this, but today I cleaned my bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. It's much better not having those strong chemical smells afterwards."

– Anonymous

"I started finding myself sitting on the floor in rooms of my house and not remembering how I got there, what I was doing before, or how long I had been there."

– Brenda

"My daughter has had many blood samples taken to test for everything imaginable and her doctor just seems puzzled. Everything comes back normal."

– Anonymous

"In my moldy home if I left the wet clothes in the washer they would get musty very quickly and I'd have to re-wash... Sometimes I'd run a load, go to work, and they'd be musty when I returned that evening."

– Anonymous

"I had been struggling with headaches, head fog, breathing difficulties (unable to get a full breath), constant scalp tingling, migraines, nausea, feeling spacey/detached, and severe itchy skin."

– Anonymous

This site is dedicated to a true friend and mother — Barbara Dell Kessel (1929-2009)