Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the decay of uranium, an element present in granite rock. Because of the prevalence of granite around the Truckee/Tahoe area our homes are at a heightened risk of radon exposure. In 2006 and 2007 the California Department of Health tested radon levels in homes throughout El Dorado, Placer and Nevada counties. Of the 392 homes tested in Truckee, 27% had radon levels higher than EPA recommendations of 4pCi/L.

Radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Overall, radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking and is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year.

Normally, radon disperses at low levels into the atmosphere and doesn’t pose a health risk. But if radon is captured under a home or building it can become trapped inside a living space and become a health risk. Since air inside a home is usually warmer than outside air, and because heat rises, a house can literally pull radon out of the earth.

Mountain Hardware sells single-use radon testing kits that start at $12.99 (located at the end of aisle 12). These kits measure radon levels over a short period of time (one week to one month). Radon detection units are also available and start at around $120. These units are reusable and provide a digital readout over any length of time. Another option is to hire a certified professional radon tester, like TEK Inspections (530-582-1725).