Between the pandemic and the winter weather, Iowans are spending more time indoors, making it an ideal time to have your house tested for radon.

The odorless, colorless gas can cause cancer. Anthony Salcedo is the service manager at a company in Omaha-Council Bluffs that does radon remediation. He says this region is inundated with radon.

“I hear a lot where a homeowner talks to their neighbor and their neighbor’s levels were low so they automatically assume they’re safe,” Salcedo says. “Unfortunately, in our area, it varies from home to home. We’re plagued with it, Iowa, we actually lead the country. It’s in about 70% of all homes.” Salcedo says radon has nothing to do with the construction of your home or problems with the basement.

“It’s not a foundation issue, it’s basically just what we’re building on,” Salcedo says. “It could be a brand new home, it could be a 50-year-old home. We have a lot of clay soil and there’s no way to stop it on the front end. The soil breaks down, the uranium deposits, the radon gases will eventually make their way into your home and cause those health issues.”

Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer behind only cigarettes. You won’t know if you have the deadly gas lurking in your home until you do a test.  “If you’ve never tested, test as soon as you can,” he says. “The EPA recommends you test every two years for the fact that things can change in the scope of the home.”

Do-it-yourself radon test kits can cost as little as $10 at the hardware store. If there are high levels of radon in your home, specialists can fix the problem or systems are available you can install yourself.