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Healthy Housing

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Radiation Symbol



General Information

Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that comes from the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium. It is commonly found throughout the world in soil, rocks, and groundwater.

Breathing radon increases the risk of developing lung cancer and radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States behind cigarette smoke. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that radon is responsible for approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year.

Radon in the Home

Radon typically moves up through the ground into the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. There are many factors that contribute to the concentration of radon in the home such as source strength, pathways, and driving forces.

Testing Home Radon Levels

Davis County Resident (Seasonal Testing)
  • The Health Department currently offers FREE radon testing for all Davis County residents from November through March each year. To sign up you can contact the health department anytime between October 1st and March 1st to get on the waiting list. You may call the health department at 801-525-5128 or fill out this online form to request a test. You will need to provide your name, phone number, and address. The waiting list is typically 2-6 weeks out from the time you call until you are able to get your home tested. A Health Department representative will call you to set up an appointment. (The waiting list has been closed for the 2023-2024 season. Please check back in October of 2024.)
Davis County Resident (Year-round Testing) or Non-Davis County Resident
  • Test kits can also be ordered year round at www.radon.utah.gov. The price of the test kit includes the laboratory analysis and postage to mail the device back to laboratory. It takes approximately 2-4 days for the test kit to arrive after it is ordered.
  • Test kits may be available through our office (contact our office for more information).
Urgent Test Needed
  • If there is a real estate transaction or another urgent situation involved, please visit the state’s website at www.radon.utah.gov and navigate to ‘test your home’ tab. There is a list of certified radon testers from which to select. In rare cases, the health department representative may have availability to conduct an urgent short-notice test if there is a cancellation.

Steps to Take After Receiving Your Radon Test Result

The EPA action level for radon is 4 pCi/L. The EPA protocol for a non-real estate transaction is to conduct a follow-up test for results above the action level. The follow-up test may either be another short-term test or a long-term test depending on the initial result.

Initial Radon Test Result Action
Radon level below 4 pCi/L No immediate follow-up necessary
Radon level between 4 and 8 pCi/L Follow up with a short-term or a long-term test
Radon level above 8 pCi/L Follow up with a short-term test (as soon as possible)


When to Test and/or Re-test

You should test/re-test your home whenever your living patterns change or your home has been modified. For example, if you recently finished your basement and members of your family spend a significant amount of time down there, you should have your home tested on that floor.

It is also recommended that you re-test your home even if the test result is below 4 pCi/L, sometime in the future.

Radon Mitigation Systems

Some radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99 percent. Most homes can be mitigated for about $1,500. Your costs may vary depending on the size and design of your home and which radon reduction methods are needed. You should get an estimate from two or more qualified radon mitigation contractors. Radon mitigation contractors can be found at www.radon.utah.gov.

Related Links: CDC: Radon Protection, EPA: Radon, Utah Radon Program

Picture of Mold



General Information

Mold has become a common complaint throughout the county and nation. Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist, but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more [1]. It is common to have small mold growth in areas with high humidity such as bathrooms, showers/baths, and kitchens. Most of the time, mold problems can be solved by finding and stopping the cause of moisture in the affected area, then cleaning the area with a common disinfectant (Lysol, bleach water, etc.). 

More information regarding mold can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Environmental Protection Agency websites. 

Mold Growth in the Home

Mold spores are regularly found in indoor air and on surfaces and materials -- no indoor space is free of them. However, when an indoor area collects too much moisture, mold and mildew can grow from the spores. Almost all homes, apartments, and commercial buildings will experience leaks, flooding, or other forms of excessive indoor dampness at some point, causing mold to grow. Most mold colonies go inactive when they become too dry and will produce millions of spores. Without proper sanitation, the mold will grow back if these spores become wet again [2].

Mold is not the only problem caused by too much moisture indoors. Damp indoor environments invite house dust mites and microbial growth such as bacteria, yeast, and other fungi. Building materials and furnishings can emit chemicals when damp, and standing water present indoors can lead to cockroach and rodent infestations [2].

Mold and Health

Mold can often produce bacteria, some of which can directly impact humans. They also produce allergens and irritants.

Typical symptoms of mold exposure include: allergic responses; asthma attacks; and irritated eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Allergies are the type of diseases most often associated with molds.

Black Mold

The "toxic" black mold is Stachybotrys chartarum. Not all black molds are Stachybotrys chartarum. While it is less common than other mold species, it is not rare [3].

This toxic black mold is not deadly unless it is eaten. However, it is one of the causes of "sick building syndrome." Direct contact with this black mold can create common symptoms such as a rash (especially in areas that are normally sweaty), itchy dry skin, pain and inflammation of the mouth and throat, conjunctivitis (pink eye), burning in the eyes and nose, tightness of the chest, cough, nosebleeds, fever, headache, and fatigue [4].

Mold Testing

Generally it is not necessary to identify the species of mold growing in a residence, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend routine sampling for molds. Because each person reacts differently to mold (because of the person's susceptibility or because of the type and amount of mold present), sampling and culturing are not reliable in determining personal health risk. If you are susceptible to mold and mold is seen or smelled, there is a potential health risk; therefore, no matter what type of mold is present, it should be removed [3].

Mold Removal

Step 1: Fix the Water Problem

Mold and other biologic growth is caused by condensation and is commonly found along the baseboards and windowsills in older housing units, particularly along the north wall. Condensation forms along the baseboards of the interior surface of outside walls during colder weather, particularly behind furniture where forced air from the furnace cannot reach. Biologic growth from condensation can be caused by poor sanitation, elevated humidity levels caused by poor air circulation in the home, and/or poor construction of exterior walls and windows.

Short-term solutions for condensation in the home include:

  • Reducing the humidity level in the house to 30% and 50%
  • Using an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months
  • Not placing any furniture against the north exterior walls during cold weather. This allows heated air and radiant heat to warm the walls.

Intermediate and long-term solutions include:

  • Making sure the home has enough ventilation, including exhaust fans
  • Cleaning the affected walls and repainting them with paint that has added mold inhibitors. This is recommended for all bathrooms.
  • Not carpeting bathrooms and other areas affected by condensation
  • Redirecting forced heat vents so that they are along the outer walls, particularly below windows. This is expensive and may not be necessary.
  • Insulating or increasing the insulation value of the exterior walls of the home
Step 2: Remove Moldy Furniture & Upholstery

You must remove or replace previously soaked (wet for more than 24-48 hours) porous materials (e.g., carpets, carpet pads, and upholstery) with visible mold. Clothing and similar items (e.g., blankets, pillowcases, curtains), however, can be machine washed.

Step 3: Clean Hard Surfaces

You can clean up the mold on hard surfaces using a cleaning solution. Remember to ALWAYS follow the manufacturer's instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.

Mold can be removed by cleaning hard surfaces with:

  • a household disinfectant labeled effective against mold,
  • a vinegar or baking soda solution (Many resources for homemeade solutions are available online, such as at WikiHow.)
  • a detergent solution, then sanitizing with a bleach solution (1/4 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water), or
  • a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water

If you choose to use a bleach solution:

  • Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
  • Open windows and doors to provide fresh air
  • Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear
  • If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult the Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings Guide by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this document also applies to other building types.

    If you notice any dry wood  joists and studs that are structurally sound but show evidence of biologic growth (darkened or black), you may encapsulate them with a mold sealant after cleaning.

    1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mold – Basic Facts
    2. Damp Indoor Spaces and Health ISBN: 0-309-09193-4, 380 pages, 6 x 9, hardback (2004)
    3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Facts about Stachybotrys chartarum
    4. American Phytopathological Society, Stachybotrys chartarum: The toxic Indoor Mold

    Related Links: CDC: Mold, EPA: Mold, EPA: Mold and Asthma, OSHA: Workplace Mold