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Lung cancer awareness month and radon

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, which means it’s the perfect time for Utahns to become better educated on the unique cancer risks in our state.

Many believe that lung cancer is only an issue for smokers, but it’s simply not true. Radon is an odorless, invisible gas that rises from uranium deposits underground, and radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Even more, Utah’s average radon level is more than double the national average.

30% of lung cancer diagnoses in Utah are in nonsmokers, compared to 10% in the United States as a whole, and it’s reasonable to infer that may be due to our higher-than-average levels of radon.

There are steps you can take to protect yourselves and your loved ones from lung cancer, and we’re here to break them down so you can stay educated and have peace of mind.

Avoid cigarette smoke

Smoking is the #1 cause of lung cancer, but even exposure to secondhand smoke at home or work increases your risk by 20–30%. If you or a loved one need help quitting, you can find tips, hotlines, and frequently asked questions on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

Check your air quality

If you’ve lived in Utah during winter, you’ve likely encountered a temperature inversion that traps pollution in valleys. Inversions can cause poor, and sometimes hazardous, air quality that may lead to respiratory symptoms. 

When the outdoor air quality is poor, it’s helpful to run an air purifier indoors and wear a KN95 mask outdoors to protect your lungs. 

Understand your local radon levels

Although Utah has a higher-than-average amount of radon, it can vary from county to county (and even house to house). The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends mitigating your home if it has radon levels at or above 2.7 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), and 59% of cities in Utah that we have tested fall at or above this level.

We compiled the average radon level in cities across the state so you can be aware of the risk your home may have for you and your loved ones. Keep in mind that no radon level is technically “safe.” Even if your area has a lower-than-average radon level, you should still test your home every two years.

Test for radon

At Utah Radon Services, we make it simple to test your home with our free, quick radon tests.

Because radon can vary from house to house, it’s vital to test your home even if a neighbor’s home tests low. Additionally, radon levels tend to be higher in the winter, so there’s no time like the present! 

Mitigate if necessary

If your home tests high for radon, don’t panic! Radon mitigation systems can be installed quickly to lower your home’s radon level and give you peace of mind. If your home has tested high for radon, contact us today for a free quote.

Data compiled from tests performed by Utah Radon Services from 2016–May 2023

When you’re buying or selling a home, it’s important to test for radon gas (no matter the age of the building!). Curious about what this process looks like? We’re here to break it down for you.

Buying a Home

When you are purchasing a house, the inspection process is the perfect time to have the home tested for radon. As a prospective buyer, it’s important to make sure you’re entering a safe environment for yourself and your loved ones. If the current owners have tested for radon in the last two years, request a copy of the report. If the home has never been tested, or if it has been more than two years since the last test, you can complete a free and simple radon test in 48 hours. Once the test has been mailed and processed by a third-party lab, you can quickly find out if the home needs a radon mitigation system.

Selling a Home

When you are selling a home, it is wise to have it tested before putting it on the market so you can provide certified results to any potential buyers. With more community understanding about the risks of radon, it’s likely that prospective buyers will ask about the home’s most recent level. Even more, potential buyers may see your proactivity as a sign that the home has been well taken care of!

How To Understand Test Results

Once a home has been tested, you will be given a result measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). Here’s a simple breakdown of what the radon levels generally mean, but keep in mind that there is no “safe” level of radon, and your goal should always be to reduce radon levels to as low as possible.

radon levels
Radon Risk Chart

For additional information about radon action levels, check out our blog post here.

Although high radon levels are fixable, it’s still an important consideration when buying or selling a home. Installing a radon mitigation system can generally get levels below 2.0 pCi/L quickly so you can move forward in the buying and selling process in no time!

For more information about radon in Utah, call our experts at 801-871-0715. You may also request a free, simple radon test here.

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