Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas. You can't see radon, smell it or taste it, but it may be a problem in your home. Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. That's because when you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States with only smoking causing more lung cancer deaths.
Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. It can get into any type of building — homes, offices, and schools — and result in a high indoor radon level. But you and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure at home, where you spend most of your time. We strongly urge you to have the home you are purchasing tested for radon during the inspection contingency period. Testing is the only way to know if radon is present and if you and your family are at risk.
If radon is found during an inspection, there are ways to remedy the situation. There are several proven methods to reduce radon in your home, but the one primarily used is a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. This system, known as a soil suction radon reduction system, does not require major changes to your home. Sealing foundation cracks and other openings makes this kind of system more effective and cost-efficient. Similar systems can also be installed in houses with crawl spaces. Radon contractors can use other methods that may also work in your home. The right system depends on the design of your home and other factors. If radon is found during the inspection period, the inspector can identify which system will be the best for your home.