Why You Should Be Concerned About Radon

Did you know that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer—second only to smoking?

Why should you be concerned about radon?

  • People who breathe in high amounts of radon are at risk of lung cancer.
  • Iowa has the highest average radon concentrations in the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency provides information on radon levels in other states.
  • Radon is most dangerous when it is trapped in an area with low ventilation, such as a home.

What is radon?

  • A gas that has no smell or taste.
  • Released over time as the uranium found in rocks and soil breaks down.
  • Spread into the air and is found at low levels in outside air and ground water.
  • Also released from building materials or from water taken from a well with high levels of radon.

Where is radon found?

  • Radon travels into a home through cracks in the foundation, floors and walls.
  • Radon can be found in other floors of a home, not just a basement.
  • Houses that are well insulated, tightly sealed, or built on soil that has high levels of uranium are more likely to have high levels of radon.

Find out what level of radon is in your home

  • Test your home using a short-term and a long-term test. Radon amounts can change month to month, so make sure to do both types of tests.
  • Do not rely on your neighbors’ results. Results can vary from house to house.
  • Always test all floors of your home-not just your basement!
  • Short term radon test kits are available for Iowa residents by mail for $6 and by pick-up for $4. For more information contact the Iowa Air Coalition at 800-206-7818.
Last reviewed: 
April 2010