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What you need to know about radon

Elevated levels of indoor radon increases the risk of lung cancer, according to the Virginia Department of Health

Part of a Radon reduction system
Part of a Radon reduction system (WSLS)

What is Radon?

  • A colorless, gaseous radioactive element that’s extremely toxic
  • Discovered in 1900 by Friedrich Ernst Dorn
  • Elevated radon levels in homes was not recognized as a potential public health threat until the mid-1980s

Radon Health Effects

  • Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped into your lungs when you breathe, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
  • As they break down further, the particles release small bursts of energy which can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime. Not everyone exposed to elevated levels of radon will develop lung cancer.
  • Exposure to indoor radon, a colorless, odorless radioactive gas, is thought to be the second leading cause of lung cancer
  • It’s the leading cause of lung cancer among people who have never smoked
  • Exposure to radon may contribute to 21,000 cases of lung cancer each year in the United States, including almost 700 cases per year in Virginia.

ROANOKE, Va.Your chances of getting lung cancer from radon depend mostly on:

  • How much radon is in your home
  • The amount of time you spend in your home
  • Whether you are a smoker or have ever smoked

Order a Radon test kit

For only $3, you can order a radon test kit from the Virginia Department of Health. Click here to order yours.

Kits are also for sale at most home improvement stores or online.

EPA Radon Risk Map for Virginia

EPA Radon Risk Map for Virginia
EPA Radon Risk Map for Virginia (EPA)

How to Find a Certified Radon Professional

The Code of Virginia requires that Radon testers and mitigators be currently certified by either the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) or the National Radon Safety Board (NRSB).

Click here for one Pearisburg family’s warning about the dangers of radon, after they tragically lost their mother to radon-induced lung cancer.


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