According to the Environmental Protection Agency, radon is present in elevated levels-higher than the federal limit of 4 picocuries per liter of air-in nearly 1 of every 15 homes in the country. This radioactive gas, created from the natural decomposition of uranium in soil, rock, and water, moves up through the ground and into a house through cracks and holes in the foundation. Then the gas remains trapped in the house.
Many health experts consider federal standards excessive. In most European countries and Canada, radon is not considered dangerous until it exceeds levels of 10 or even 20 picocuries per liter of air. This discrepancy has been enough to create a controversy over the effects of household radon on health.
The EPA recommends that all houses being bought or sold be tested for radon. Congress in 1988 passed the Indoor Radon Abatement Act, stating that, “It is the goal of the United States that all homes, schools, and federal buildings be tested for radon.”