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Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon

EPA Guide to Radon p.23

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Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon is a publication by the Environmental Protection Agency. Used with permission under public domain and creative commons. Usage: Category Education; License: Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

On this page: Sometimes short-term tests are less definitive about whether the radon level in the home is at or above 4 pCi/L; particularly when the results are close to 4 pCi/L.

For example, if the average of two short-term tests is 4.1 pCi/L, there is about a 50 percent chance that the year-round average is somewhat below, or above, 4 pCi/L.

However, EPA believes that any radon exposure carries some risk; no level of radon is safe. Even radon levels below 4 pCi/L pose some risk. You can reduce your risk of lung cancer by lowering your radon level.

As with other environmental pollutants, there is some uncertainty about the magnitude of radon health risks. However, we know more about radon risks than risks from most other cancer-causing substances. This is because estimates of radon risks are based on data from human studies (underground miners). Additional studies on more typical populations are under way.

Your radon measurement will give you an idea of your risk of getting lung cancer. Your chances of getting lung cancer from radon depend mostly on: Your home's radon level; The amount of time you spend in your home; and Whether you are a smoker or have ever smoked.

Smoking combined with radon is an especially serious health risk. If you smoke or are a former smoker, the presence of radon greatly increases your risk of lung cancer. If you stop smoking now and lower the radon level in your house, you will reduce your lung cancer risk.


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