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Utahns urged to test homes during Radon Action Month

Posted at 6:40 AM, Jan 18, 2023

LEHI, Utah — January is Radon Action Month.

The month of January was chosen because cold temperatures make radon more likely to find its way into buildings.

“When the ground is frozen, radon goes the path of least resistance through your home,” said Eleanor Divver, Utah’s radon project coordinator.

Divver is urging all Utahns to test their properties for radon.

A test can be purchased here for $10.95. That cost includes all lab work and postage.

Owners of homes that return a result of four picocuries or greater are urged to install a radon mitigation system.

The decision to install a system was easy for Marla Brannum. Her home’s test showed a result above seven picocuries.

The mitigation system brought that number down to around two picocuries. She hopes she caught the issue in time to prevent any long term health problems.

“We had been here for a while before it happened. Knock on wood so far no one has come up with any issues,” Brannum said.

Divver says exposure to radon in a home with 10 picocuries is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes per day.

In 2021, data collected by the Utah Public Health Tracking Network shows the highest radon level recorded in Salt Lake county was around 55 picocuries. In Davis county, the largest test reading was nearly 200.

“If you find you have radon levels above four picocuries we recommend that you consider mitigation and you will save a life of your family or yourself,” Divver said.

“The goal is to have as little exposure to harmful radioactive gas as possible,” added TJ Mellars of Utah Radon Services, a company that installs mitigation systems.

He says Utah's mining history and geological makeup makes the soil more susceptible to producing radon.

The American Lung Association reports 41 percent of radon tests in Utah were at or above the action level recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The only way to know if your home is impacted is to take a test.

Installing a mitigation system is a quick process that can be completed in one day.

“We are drawing those gasses from beneath the home and expelling them above the home,” Mellars said.

The average cost is $1500

For moms like Marla, that cost is a small price to pay to protect her loved ones from this invisible, cancer causing gas.