Radon is the second most common cause of lung cancer in the state after smoking, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that exists in nature.
"When uranium breaks down in the soil, radon is a by-product, and radon can get into your home through cracks or your plumbing, or any space that allows air to enter your home," said Integrated Cancer Services Program Outreach Coordinator Allie Bain.
Bain said when the indoor air pressure is lower than the air pressure outside, your home can act like a vacuum and pull in the gas. A building’s radon levels fluctuate depending on the weather. Bain said about one-third of Wyoming homes exceed levels recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The health department has radon test kits available, and Bain said home buyers can make testing a part of their inspection. If the level is above four picocuries per liter, she recommends consulting a specialist and installing a ventilation system.
For renters, Bain said, "You can certainly test your home. In Wyoming, there aren’t any laws or regulations that require landlords to mitigate homes or rental properties if high levels are found, but that would certainly be something to discuss with your landlord or your property manager."
Bain estimates that radon mitigation can cost between $500 and $1500, depending on the home and the specialist.