Utah homes ranked among the highest for radon gas levels

UTAH — A press release from Utah Radon Services on September 26 reads that one in three Utah homes are estimated to have dangerous levels of radon gas, five times more than the national average. Radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers in the United States.

The press release was created using data from the Environmental Protection Agency, and included a list of Utah counties at high risk for radon gas exposure, including Wasatch and Summit counties.

The EPA website goes into greater detail about radon gas. It reads that radon gas exposure most commonly occurs in the home, and is caused by the natural decay of uranium that is found in almost all soils. As radon is created through radioactive decay, it then can rise and move through the ground into the air in a home through cracks and other holes in home foundations. Once it has entered a basement or similar ground floor room, it can become trapped inside and build up to dangerous levels. Radon can also sometimes enter a home through well water. The EPA mentions that all homes, new and old, can have a radon problem.

According to the EPA’s website, a “wealth of scientific data on the relationship between radon exposure and the development of lung cancer” makes radon an environmental cause for concern. The EPA continues by highlighting that lung cancer usually is a result of long-term exposure, over 5-25 years. It also reads that smokers are at a higher risk for radon-induced lung cancer.

Utah Radon Services wrote in its press release that while Utah has the lowest smoking rate in the country, “lung cancer kills more Utahns than breast, colon, and prostate cancer combined.” They offer one free radon test kit per household to residents who may be concerned about radon levels in their house.

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