The Willamette Valley and parts of southern and eastern Oregon have higher radon levels than elsewhere in the state. January is Radon Action month and the Oregon Health Authority urges everyone to test their homes for the gas.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is odorless, invisible and tasteless. Brett Sherry with the Oregon Health Authority says regardless of your zip code it’s a good idea to test.
“The only way to know what the levels are in your particular home is to actually test it. And the reason we care radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, second only to cigarette smoking, and it’s the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. So it’s a significant health risk.”
Sherry says radon is formed when uranium breaks down in soil and most soil has some level of uranium in it. During the winter, higher levels of the gas can be found because homes are heated and doors and windows are shut.
The Oregon Health Authority is offering free testing kits to people living where there is little radon data. If you find high levels of the gas in your home, you should contact a radon mitigation company.