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Concerning levels of radon found in many Utah homes

Posted at 8:03 AM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 10:03:24-04

SALT LAKE CITY — An invisible and dangerous threat is lurking in many Utah homes.

According to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, 1 in 3 Utah homes contains concerning levels of radon.

“It's colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that gets into your home and causes lung cancer,” said Eleanor Divver, the radon project coordinator at the Utah DEQ.

Radon is caused by the natural breakdown of uranium underground and eventually rises above the surface.

“It finds those little cracks and crevices and gets into the home,” Divver said.

Since it has no odor and isn’t visible, the Utah DEQ recommends testing homes for radon.

A test kit can be purchased at radon.utah.gov for $11.

“I was out in Bluffdale and tested a home for a family and it was at 138 picocuries,” Divver said. “Just to give you a perspective, that's like smoking 13 packs of cigarettes every day.”

Even a reading as low as 4 picocuries, which is equivalent to smoking several cigarettes a day, is cause for concern and a reason to call a certified radon mitigator.

“For $1200 to $1500, they are able to mitigate your home and pull radon out from underneath the cement slab of your home,” Divver said.

The radon threat is in both new and old homes.

The Utah Department of Health estimates that between 1973 and 2017, 5826 people in Utah died from cancer caused by exposure to radon.

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality and the Utah Geological Survey are recommending the legislators in Utah create a low cost or interest free loan program to help residents pay for mitigation efforts. They would also like to see required radon testing when a home is sold.