Radon occurs naturally in the soil, but if it becomes trapped in a home, it poses a long-term health hazard. Radon is second only to smoking as the leading preventable cause of lung cancer in the United States, said Dr. Clifford Mitchell, of Maryland's Environmental Health Bureau. But on the plus side, he added, "It is easy to detect, easy to measure and easy to fix the problem." Because radon is a heavy gas, it tends to build up in the basement or lower level. The solution is drilling a hole, inserting a pipe and installing a fan to remove the gas. Mitchell said all homes should be tested for radon. "Radon levels can be very, very different, even in houses right next to each other," he noted.
Nanine Hartzenbusch, Baltimore Sun Photo