Radon in air? Test your home to be sure

This is a frequent question at our community workshops from Rhode Island homeowners.  Rhode Island homeowners should first test their indoor air for radon. It’s easy and inexpensive to do.  And, it’s important to test!  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon is one of the leading causes of lung cancer (smoking and second-hand smoke are also leading causes).

Winter is a good time to test your indoor air for radon, since your house is closed up during the heating season.

Here’s what to do: 

  1. Test your indoor air for radon.  Click here for a list of registered Radon Testing Businesses.
  2. If the radon level in the air is 4 picocuries per liter or more (4 is the EPA’s standard for radon in air), take action to lower the level.  Use a Licensed Radon Mitigation Contractor for the work, click here for a list of licensed contractors.
  3. If the indoor air level for radon is at 4 picocuries per liter or more, you will also want to test your private well water for radon.  Use a State-certified testing lab.  Click here for a list of labs.  If you have to treat the air and the water, a Licensed Radon Mitigation Contractor can help you.  Radon gas can get trapped in your well water and then release into the air when showering, washing dishes, doing laundry, etc.  The radon gas released from the water will cause higher indoor air levels.  It’s this total amount of radon in air that is of most concern to health.

For more information:

  1. Contact the RI Dept. of Health’s Radon Control Program at 401-222-5960
  2. See our tip sheet on radon in drinking water wells
  3. Call or email Alyson McCann, Water Quality Coordinator, URI Extension