The most common and readily available type of home test kit is for radon, the invisible, odorless gas believed to cause lung cancer.
The EPA recommends that ``the lowest lived-in level of the home,' including the basement if it is frequently used, be tested for radon. The agency estimates that one in 15 American homes has levels of radon high enough to pose a health risk. A survey last year by the American Lung Association found that only 11 percent of Americans had tested their homes for radon.There are two types of kits. Carbon kits, which use carbon to trap the radon gas, take a week or two to work. Alpha-track monitors measure the alpha particles emitted by radon decay and must be left in place one to three months. Both kinds can be installed by a consumer.
``Both (types) are accurate enough for any homeowner's purposes,' said Dan Agopsowicz, former chair of the American Industrial Hygiene Association's ionizing-radiation committee.