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INDIANAPOLIS — January is National Radon Action Month.

But, what is radon?

According to the EPA, radon is a radioactive gas that forms naturally when radioactive materials like uranium, thorium, or radium break down in rocks, soil, and groundwater.

People can be exposed to radon mostly from breathing radon air that comes in through the cracks and gaps in homes and buildings. The EPA says nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels.

Radon is especially dangerous because if you breathe it in and the radioactive particles get trapped in your lungs, it can lead to lung cancer. In fact, it is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, according to the American Lung Association.

The only way to know if you are at risk from radon is to test for it. You can purchase a test kit at a hardware store or you can order one by calling 1-800-SOS-RADON or going to the National Radon Program Services website.

If your test shows a radon level of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher, test your home again. If the second test is also high, you need to fix the problem, says the CDC.

If you find out your home has high radon levels, contact the state radon office for advice and solutions on how to fix the problem. They can also direct you to a specialist, known as a mitigation contractor, to fix a big radon problem with your home.