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iowa department of public health

National Radon Action Month

PLANE CRASHES; 400 IOWANS KILLED. This headline would cause an investigation, yet every year approximately 400 Iowans die from radon-induced lung cancer, and few seem to notice.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. It comes from the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium in the soil left behind by glaciers. Iowa has the highest incidence of radon in the country.

The Surgeon General warns that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, five out of seven homes have an unacceptable level of radon.

The average radon concentration in every Iowa county is above the EPA action level of 4.0pCi/L. Since radon levels aren’t constant, every home (no matter the kind of foundation or age of the home) should be tested at least every two years. Testing is the only way to know a radon level. There is no immediate symptom that will alert you to the presence of radon.