Radon is a colorless, odorless gas and is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Radon is found throughout the U.S., and occurs from the decay of radioactive minerals, such as uranium, which are found naturally in soils.
In Utah, 1 in 3 homes have been shown to have high Radon levels. This has also been the case for Duchesne and Uintah counties. The EPA map of radon zones shows the Uintah Basin is predicted to have high levels of Radon. The truth behind these two sets of data (1 in 3, and predicted high), is that we simply don’t know at this point.
Just over 600 tests have been performed in our three counties. We would like to encourage everyone to test their home for Radon. If your neighbor has had their home tested, you should also test–the levels can be very different even between neighbors. We’ve had a significant increase in testing over the past few years, but still have a ways to go!
Test kits can be purchased at radon.utah.gov for $9. Free kits are available for families with newborn babies from local hospitals, or from our offices through the WIC program.
We are in the process of testing the schools in our three counties, and so far all schools tested have had radon levels less than the EPA’s action level of 4 pCi/L.
What to do if your home is found to have high levels? Answer is to ventilate. Sometimes it can be as simple as increasing air circulation in building. May require installation of extra vent below foundation that will intercept radon, and send it up into atmosphere.
Tests are easy. Simply open kit, place in poorly ventilated area of home on lowest level (basement) (make sure kit is not disturbed–keep kids and animals away), mail to lab after 3 days. Expect to receive results within a couple of weeks. Test results are usually reported to the State automatically to track zip codes. No regulation on radon levels–nobody is going to show up at your door if test is high. Up to homeowner to remedy, we’re here to provide assistance.
Radon by Utah zip code:
DEQ Blog Post: