What is Radon?

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium; a natural element in soil.

The major source of high levels of radon in homes is the soil surrounding the house which may contain uranium, granite, shale, phosphate, and pitchblende. The radon gas from the soil can enter a home or building through dirt floors, hollow-block walls, cracks in the foundation floor and walls, and openings around floor drains, pipes, and sump pumps.

  • Radon is often more highly concentrated in basements, ground floors, and the first floor of homes.
  • Radon problems have been identified in every state, and nationwide tests are being conducted to identify the extent and magnitude of the problem. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that as many as one in 15 homes in the U.S. has elevated radon levels.
  • Homes without basements can have a radon problem. The American Lung Association (ALA) and the EPA recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. Testing in schools is also recommended.
  • ANY HOME IS AT RISK FOR RADON GAS, just as anyone is at risk for developing lung cancer from radon gas exposure.

Why should I be concerned?

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, resulting in thousands of deaths each year in the United States. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. As radon decays and is inhaled into the lungs, its byproducts release energy that can damage sensitive lung tissue and lead to lung cancer. For non-smokers, exposure to elevated radon levels can increase the risk of lung cancer as much as smoking can. For smokers, exposure to radon is an especially serious health risk.

What can you do?

  1. Test your home for radon. Do-it-yourself test kits are available at our office for $8.00 each. We are located at 2570 4th St SW, Suite 1, Mason City, next door to Hobby Lobby. Office hours: 8:00 AM-4:30 PM
  2. Fix your home if radon levels are over 4 pCi/L. Professional contractors must be certified by the Iowa Department of Public Health. Knowledgeable homeowners may take corrective action to reduce radon levels in their own homes (EPA pamphlets are available). Radon problems can be fixed by straightforward construction techniques. 

Resources specific to this page:

 The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Radon page
Iowa Department of Public Health Radon Informational YouTube Videos
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Radon page

  • Iowa Radon Hotline: 1-800-383-5992
  • National Radon Hotline: Purchase radon test kits by phone. (You can also purchase them at our office for $8.)
    1 (800) SOS-RADON (767-7236)
  • National Radon Helpline: Get live help for your radon questions.
    1 (800) 55-RADON (557-2366)
  • National Radon Fix-It Line: For general information on fixing or reducing the radon level in your home.
    1 (800) 644-6999
  • National Radon Hotline En Español
    1 (866) 528-3187

Additional Resources:

Contact Us

2570 4th St SW, Suite 1
Mason City, IA 50401
(641) 421-9300
Toll-Free: 1 (888) 264-2581
Available 24/7 to report health emergencies
(641) 450-0895