The following content and questions are intended for patients , but healthcare providers also should answer them to evaluate their own risk of exposure to radon .
You may have heard that exposure to radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer . Your actual risk of lung cancer depends on the radon concentration and how long you have been exposed to the radon , as well as other risk factors — such as whether you have ever smoked . The current level of radon at which EPA recommends taking action is 4 picocuries of radon per liter of air ( pCi / L ). Technically , no level of radon exposure is safe because all exposure carries some risk ; however , the EPA action level is the guideline used in the United States . EPA estimates that the average indoor and outdoor radon concentration in the United States is 1.3 pCi / L and 0.4 pCi / L , respectively . 18 , 19 The U . S . Congress has set a long-term goal that indoor radon levels be no more than outdoor levels . While this goal is not yet technologically achievable in all cases , radon concentration in most homes today can be reduced to 2 pCi / L or less . EPA recommends considering lowering radon levels when found to be between 2 and 4 pCi / L .
The questions below may be useful for developing tailored guidance for patients .
Have you tested your home for radon ?
• If the answer is no — Action is recommended : Either obtain a do-it-yourself radon test kit or hire a certified radon professional to assess the home for radon gas concentrations . Test kits are available at most hardware stores and from local health departments , or they can be ordered by calling 1 – 800 – SOS – RADON ( 1-800-767-7236 ).
• If the answer is yes —
Was the radon test result in your home 4 pCi / L or greater ?
If the answer is no — EPA recommends retesting the home ' s living spaces periodically , such as every 2 years or after any major home renovation or change to the home ' s heating or cooling system .
If the answer is yes--EPA recommends the following : If your initial test result is 4 pCI / L or higher , take a follow-up test to be sure .
−For a better understanding of your year-round average radon concentration , take a long-term test . However , if you need results quickly , take a second short-term test . If your first short-term test result is more than twice EPA ' s 4 pCi / L action level , you should take a second short-term test immediately .
−If you followed up with a long-term test , EPA recommends fixing ( mitigating ) your home if your long-term test reult is 4 pCi / L or higher . If you followed up with a second short-term test and if the average of your first and second test is 4 pCi / L or higher , EPA recommends fixing ( mitigating ) your home . It is suggested that you contact a certified radon professional to install a radon mitigation system .
Have you taken steps to reduce your home ’ s radon level ?
• If the answer is no — Action is recommended : To reduce the risk of lung cancer from radon exposure in your home , it is suggested that you have a radon mitigation system installed to reduce the radon concentration in your living spaces to less than the EPA radon action level of 4 pCi / L .
• If the answer is yes — Have you conducted a radon test to confirm the radon concentration in your home has been reduced to below the EPA radon action level ? You should conduct a radon test every 2 years to ensure the radon concentration remains below EPA ’ s action level .
If you have questions about radon testing or mitigation , you can call the National Radon Hotline at 1 – 800 – SOS – RADON ( 1-800-767-7236 ) or consult EPA ’ s radon web page at www . epa . gov / radon .