January is National Radon Action Month. Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas found in some Montana homes. Long-term exposure can lead to a risk of lung cancer so it’s important to have your home tested for radon and install a mitigation system if levels are elevated. The winter months are the best time to test your home because radon levels are typically at their highest due to doors and windows being closed.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) offers free radon test kits for Montanans to test radon levels in their homes. To obtain a free test kit simply fill out the form at: aelabs.com/mt
Radon is measured in picocuries (pCi) per liter of air. There is no safe level of radon gas, but installation of a mitigation system should be considered for levels at 4 pCi/L and above to reduce health risks. Mitigation can also occur for levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the radon level in the outside air is about 0.4 pCi/L, making it difficult to lower radon levels to zero.
“Montana homes may have elevated radon levels due to the geology of the area. Knowing the radon level in your home is important to understand your risk,” said Dan Lloyd, DEQ energy bureau chief. “We encourage Montanans to take advantage of our free radon test kits and our staff is available to answer questions about radon and mitigation techniques.”
Radon is caused by the breakdown, or decay, of uranium in soil, rock and water. The EPA estimates that homes throughout Montana have the potential for elevated levels due to the geology and soil in the region.
Radon gas can enter homes through miniscule cracks in the floor or small spaces around utility pipes and can accumulate unless properly mitigated. If mitigation is needed, DEQ offers a list of mitigation professionals who are certified by the National Radon Proficiency Program or the National Radon Safety board. For more information visit: https://deq.mt.gov/energy/Programs/radon