The state Department of Health and Human Services says 59 percent of the 48,000 homes tested for radon since 1990 have been above the acceptable health level set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Radon is a colorless, odorless and naturally occurring gas that originates in the soil. It can build to dangerous levels in homes. The EPA says radon exposure causes approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year.
Officials say people can reduce their exposure to the gas by sealing obvious cracks and openings in the foundation of their home. Owners of homes with high radon levels should have a licensed contractor install a permanent mitigation system.
DHHS’s Nebraska Radon Program recommends all homes be tested for radon, as testing is the only way to know the radon level in your home. Radon testing is easy and inexpensive, and do-it-yourself kits can be purchased through the Program. There are effective ways to reduce radon levels in your home if they are elevated. New homes can also be built with radon resistant features during construction, called radon resistant new construction (RRNC). Information for obtaining a kit is available on the DHHS website, http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/radon_testkits.aspx.