Iowans urged to check their homes for killer radon gas


January 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Most folks know smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, but the number-two cause is radon. While the E-P-A estimates one in every 15 homes nationwide has elevated radon levels, many parts of Iowa are at much greater risk. Micki Sandquist is spokeswoman for the American Lung Association in Iowa. “Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas that is produced from decay naturally occuring in the soil and it enters homes through their basements,” Sandquist says. “We are encouraging people to test their homes to see if they have radon in their home and if so, to take care of it.” Testing kits are easy to use and usually cost less than 20-dollars. Sandquist says most of the state’s American Lung Association chapters will have them in stock.

Sandquist says, “You keep the kit in the basement or the lowest level of the home and you send the test away and the results come back and let you know the level of radon that is in your home or if there’s no radon in your home.” Homes with high radon levels can usually be fixed with simple and affordable venting techniques.  “It is estimated there are 400 deaths per year in Iowa that are caused by radon-induced lung cancer,” Sandquist says. “It’s about the same number of annual deaths that are seen in Iowa for traffic fatalities.” Governor Branstad is proclaiming this as Radon Action Month for the state as radon levels are highest during the winter months. Learn more by calling 800-383-5992 or visit:

(Pat Powers/Matt Kelley, Radio Iowa)