What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. Radon gas is inert, colorless and odorless. Radon is naturally in the atmosphere in trace amounts. Outdoors, radon disperses rapidly and, generally, is not a health issue. Most radon exposure occurs inside homes, schools and workplaces. Radon gas becomes trapped indoors after it enters buildings through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Indoor radon can be controlled and managed with proven, cost-effective techniques.
Is Radon Dangerous?
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Breathing radon over time increases your risk of lung cancer. Nationally, the EPA estimates that about 21,000 people die each year from radon-related lung cancer. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths.
Is Radon Preventable?
You can take steps to reduce and control the amount of radon in your home. Testing is the only way to determine radon levels. Have your home tested by a professional. If radon levels are high, contact a certified radon service professional to fix your home. EPA guidance suggests mitigating if levels are at or above 148 Bq/m3 (4 pCi/L). Usually, radon problems are fixed using an underground ventilation system or by increasing the rate of air changes in the building.
How Long Does A Radon Test Take?
Many believe a radon test takes 48 hours, but that is accurate only if the house has been closed up before radon testing begins. The EPA requires radon testers to extend the testing period by 12 hours minimum if closed house conditions have not been met or maintained throughout the duration of the test. This equals a total test time or device placement time of at least 60 hours for active testing devices.
Passive devices like charcoal canisters should remain in place for up to 96 hours from the start of closed house conditions. Once placed, many manufacturers require a minimum of 72 hours even when closed house conditions are maintained to achieve accurate results.
The actions of a home inspection itself disrupt closed house conditions. Opening windows, operating ceiling fans, and turning on the heating and cooling for extended periods of time are all violations of closed house conditions. Unfortunately, extending the testing period at the end of a home inspection gets overlooked. We’ve created a radon testing video with more information to better educate our customers and property sellers. Inaccurate testing can create false high levels as well as false low levels.
For more information, visit the Environmental Protection Agency