Radon: fact or fiction?

January 10, 2023
Brigitta Gruenberg, Division of Public Health

Did you know radon is present in many Idaho homes? The Idaho Environmental Health Program within the Division of Public Health manages the Idaho Radon Program. Below is information to separate radon facts from fiction and help keep your family healthy.

Fact: All homes should be tested for radon.

Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell, or taste. It enters homes through gaps or cracks in the foundation. All homes, including new builds, existing homes, and those with and without basements, can have high levels of radon gas. With more people working from home since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the risk of radon exposure may be increased as more time is spent at home. 

Testing is easy and the only way to know if you are being exposed to radon in your home. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends testing your home every two years or after any remodeling.

 You can order a free short-term test kit from www.radonidaho.org or call the Idaho Careline at 2-1-1 or 1-800-445-8647.

Fiction: Radon is not an issue where I live.

Two out of every five homes tested in Idaho have radon levels higher than recommended. In fact, high radon levels have been found in homes located in every county in the state. To learn more about radon test results and recommended actions, visit www.radonidaho.org.  You can also view Idaho radon test results by zip code on an interactive map and order a free short-term test kit.

Fiction: Radon is not harmful to my health.

Long-term exposure to radon gas is known to cause lung cancer and is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. To learn more about the health effects of radon, visit the EPA’s Health Risk of Radon website at epa.gov/radon/health-risk-radon.

Fact: Winter is the best time to test a home for radon.

Radon levels can change by season and with the weather. The highest levels of radon are found during winter months when homes get less fresh air. To learn more about radon testing and how to respond to a radon problem, visit www.radonidaho.org.

Fact: A radon problem can be fixed.

Radon mitigation systems can effectively reduce the levels of radon in a home. The Idaho Radon Program recommends hiring a nationally-certified radon professional to reduce radon in your home. To locate a radon professional, visit www.radonidaho.org.

Radon Virtual Workshops hosted this month

The Idaho Radon Program is offering a free one-hour interactive radon workshop that will explain what radon is, how it enters your home, and what you can do to help prevent excessive exposure and reduce your risk of lung cancer. To register, visit www.radonidaho.org.

  • Jan. 12   2 p.m. - 3 p.m. MT, virtual online
  • Jan. 15   4 p.m. - 5 p.m. MT, virtual online
  • Jan. 17   4 p.m. - 5 p.m. MT, virtual online
  • Jan. 23   6 p.m. - 7 p.m. MT, virtual online

Idaho Certified Radon Mitigation Incentive Program

The Idaho Radon Program is offering a $250 reimbursement for the completion of Center of Environmental Research & Technology, Inc (CERTI) Radon Measurement and Mitigation Course and 100% reimbursement for nationally approved National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) or National Radon Safety Board (NRSB) certified radon mitigation test for 20 students. Coursework and a test must be completed between Jan. 1, 2023 and June 1, 2023, and students must submit all documents for reimbursement by June 1, 2023. For more information, please visit www.radonidaho.org.

Brigitta Gruenberg is the Environmental Health Program manager in the Division of Public Health.  

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening Idahoans' health, safety, and independence. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.

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