Radon is a radioactive gas that you cannot smell, see, or taste. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.
The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.
Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. There are many kinds of low-cost "do-it-yourself" radon test kits that you can get through the mail and in your local hardware stores and other retail outlets. They cost between $10 and $25. If you prefer, or if you are buying or selling a home, you can hire a qualified tester to do the testing for you.