DEP Encourages Pennsylvanians to Test Homes for Radon


Dept. of Environmental Protection

Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120


Deb Klenotic, DEP
DEP Encourages Pennsylvanians to Test Homes for Radon
Winter is the ideal time to test for this naturally
occurring radioactive gas, the second leading cause of lung cancer

Harrisburg, PA
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) encourages
Pennsylvanians to start off the new year by conducting a simple test of
their homes for radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is the
second leading cause of lung cancer. Winter is a good time to test in
the commonwealth because doors and windows are closed, providing more
accurate results.

“Because of our geology, nearly
every county in the commonwealth has locations of high radon levels,
putting Pennsylvanians at risk of exposure,” said DEP Secretary Patrick
McDonnell. “A radon test is a great way to protect yourself and your
family. Fortunately, testing your home for radon is as simple as opening
a can, and inexpensive do-it-yourself tests are available at hardware
and home stores.” 

“Radon is a leading cause of lung
cancer in Pennsylvania,” Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Since
we know that radon is prevalent in homes across Pennsylvania, it is
important to test your home. It is a simple step you can take to protect
your family’s health.”

Radon is an odorless, colorless,
radioactive gas that occurs from the breakdown of uranium in the ground.
It enters homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings. As a
result, high levels of radon tend to be found in basements, but the gas
can be found anywhere in the home.

The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) has set 4 picocuries of radon per liter (pCi/L) of air as
an Action Level. If your radon level is higher than this, EPA, DEP, and
the U.S. Surgeon General recommend having a radon mitigation system
professionally installed to lower it. Typically consisting of a pipe and
exhaust fan, the system will vent radon to the outside. 

All radon testers, mitigators, and laboratories in Pennsylvania must be certified by DEP, which provides a public list of certified radon service providers. People can also obtain a hard copy or verify a company’s certification by calling DEP at 800-23RADON (800-237-2366).

DEP will send free follow-up test kits
to Pennsylvanians who’ve tested their homes and have results higher
than 100 pCi/L or who’ve installed an active mitigation system in the
past year. 

Compared with the associated risk of
lung cancer, a radon reduction system is very affordable, generally in
the price range of other common home improvements. 

Having a system installed will also
make the future sale of your home easier. If you’re building a new home,
DEP recommends installing a passive radon system during construction.
There is no reliable way to test the ground in advance for radon, and
the cost of installing the radon system during construction is typically
much less than installing one after the fact.

For people buying or selling a home,
Pennsylvania’s Real Estate Seller Disclosure Act requires sellers to
disclose the results of any known radon testing. The DEP website lists radon testing options for real estate transactions

DEP provides several downloadable radon publications and is posting radon tips on Facebook and Twitter and airing a public service announcement throughout January, National Radon Action Month. 

For more information, please contact the DEP Radon Division via phone at 800-237-2366 or 717-783-3594, or via email at