January is National Radon Action Month, so why not have your home tested?

When people think about lung cancer, it's usually associated with cigarette smokers. But did you know that the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers is an odorless, tasteless gas called radon that may be lurking in your house?

The dangers of radon are so serious that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared January National Radon Action Month. Organizations such as The American Lung Association, Centers for Disease Control and National Cancer Institute are all on board with this effort, noting that radon is a national health problem and suggesting that people take this opportunity to perform radon testing in their own homes.

"Since the time people spend indoors is a large percentage of their time, reducing radon exposures is important," said Monitor and Analysis Unit Supervisor Andy Roth of the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency. "It's kind of like putting a seat belt on: Is it going to help me today? I don't know, but statistics show if you wear a seat belt it improves your odds."

According to the EPA, exposure to radon is responsible for up to 20,000 deaths in the United States each year. This radioactive gas causes damage when people inhale it or ingest it, and it could be present in your home, school or workplace. In fact, the EPA found that nearly one in three homes in seven states tested positive for potentially dangerous radon levels.

Moving into a new house that hasn't received a proper home inspection is a dangerous idea, as it can lead to lots of repair costs, and can even seriously compromise your health. If you're thinking of buying a new house, or if you want to conduct radon testing at your current property, a home inspection contractor can help you determine if you're safe, and what to do if you aren't.