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Indicator Report - Radon

Why Is This Important?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are related to radon. Exposure to radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer overall. Those who smoke and are exposed to radon have an especially high risk of developing lung cancer.

Testing your home for radon levels is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. Tests for your home are inexpensive and easy. Tests can be purchased at home improvement stores, the National Safety Council, and from Utah's Division of Radiation Control (http://radon.utah.gov, where the cost of a test kit is $8 for Utah residents). If your home radon test results measure 4.0 pCi/L or higher, the EPA recommends you take action to lower the amount of radon in your home.

A mitigation system may be installed by a certified contractor and usually costs between $1,200 and $2,000. For a list of qualified mitigation contractors contact the National Radon Proficiency Program, the National Radon Safety Board, or by going to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) and clicking on "Certified Mitigators/RRNC" (located at http://radon.utah.gov).

Short-term radon tests require 48 to 72 hours to complete. Before testing, the house should be closed for about 12 hours and then the test instrument is activated and left in place for 48 hours or more. Activated charcoal tests are commonly used in short term tests. It is important to place the radon test in the lowest lived-in level of the home. For example, if the basement is frequently used, place the test in the basement. Otherwise, place it on the first floor. Be sure to carefully follow all instructions provided in the radon test kit.

There are tests that take more than 91 days to complete and are conducted with the house in a normal living mode. These long-term results give a more representative picture of the true radon levels in the home; fluctuations in temperature and pressure are detected and factored into the value. These tests are not currently reported to UDEQ.

Radon Home Tests by County, Utah, 1990-2013

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data table

Data Notes

* Use caution in interpreting, the estimate has a coefficient of variation >30% and is therefore deemed unreliable by Utah Department of Health standards.
** Data are suppressed because the coefficient of variation is >50%.

Data Sources

Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Radiation Control.

Other Views


Definition

Radon is a naturally occurring gas produced by the decay of uranium in soil, rock, and water. You can't see, smell, or taste radon, but it can accumulate in buildings as it seeps through cracks and holes in building foundations. Radon is a more dense gas than most gases present in the air, therefore it is commonly found in basements. The accumulation of radon in your home can pose a danger to your family's health, as it is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L).

How We Calculated the Rates

Numerator: Radon test results data in pCi/L for home radon tests ordered through the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ). Radon Behavioral Risk Surveillance System (BRFSS) data uses the individual weighted responses to radon questions by Utah residents.
Denominator: If applicable: Radon test results use the total number of tests. Radon BRFSS survey data use the individually weighted number of respondents.

Page Content Updated On 12/24/2014, Published on 12/24/2014
The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site (http://ibis.health.utah.gov). The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Sun, 29 March 2015 14:43:31 from Utah Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: http://ibis.health.utah.gov".

Content updated: Wed, 24 Dec 2014 13:05:58 MST