The Environmental Protection Agency reports that radon gas causes more than 20,000 deaths each year in the United States, killing more people in 2009 than carbon monoxide, fires or drunk driving.
The U.S. surgeon general and the American Lung Association recommend all homes be tested for radon gas, a natural radioactive gas that you can't see, smell or taste. The surgeon general's office says radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, behind cigarette smoking.
A qualified radon tester can be hired or a short-term test (it remains in the home for two days to 90 days, depending on the kit) can be purchased at hardware and other retail outlets. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/radon or www.deq.louisiana.gov (where you will find a list of certified testers as well as a coupon for a testing kit).