What is Radon? Radon-222 (“radon”) is a naturally occurring inert gas that comes from the decay of radium-226, which is widely distributed in uranium containing soils and rocks. Radon rises to the earth’s surface, and enters buildings through cracks and other foundation opening.
Why is Radon Dangerous? Radon decay products produce alpha particles that are harmful to the tissue in the lungs. Radon is the 2nd cause of lung cancer after smoking. It kills more people than drunk drivers.
Where is Radon Found? Radon is all over the world, and can accumulate in all types of structures: residential, commercial, educational .. ALL types
What is a Safe Level of Radon? There are no safe exposure levels to radon. The EPA’s recommendation of 4.0 pCi/L as a trigger for remediation is based on technology and economics, not on safety.
My Short Term Test was Negative. Does that Mean My Building is Safe from Radon? A short term test shows the buildup of radon when the building is “closed” during a particular period of time (usually 2-4 days). It is possible that variables could dramatically alter those results. The Radon Lady recommends always following with a Long Term test which will more accurately reflect radon levels under actual living/working conditions in the structure.
Can a Building with Radon be Fixed? Yes. There are many ways of reducing the radon levels inside a building. There is a list of mitigators at the NRPP website:
What Agencies Test Radon Professionals? The National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) is a division of the National Environmental Health Association. Most states accept NRPP credentials. Some states require additional registration.
When was Radon Determined as a Residential Hazard? In the 1980 a worker set off alarms during the construction of a nuclear power plant. The source of his radioactivity was traced to his home, built over a fault. Prior to that radon was known to exist in mines, but was not considered as a risk to those inside buildings.
Can you Test for Radon Before Construction? Ground testing of radon is possible but is not an accurate predictor of radon levels after construction. Radon resistant construction is easy, cost effective and is recommended for new building construction.
What is the Difference between “Short Term” and “Long Term” Testing? Short term tests take from 2 to 90 days. Long term tests are 90 days or more, up to a year.
Charcoal and other short term tests, particularly the type used for real estate transactions, typically indicate radon in forced “worst case” conditions that show the potential for radon. Alpha Track and other long term tests indicate the radon levels under the living conditions.
My House (Building) has been Radon Treated. Do I need to test is again? The EPA recommends long term sampling performed every 2 years after a successful remediation system has been installed.
TIP: You should also test your home again after it is fixed to be sure that radon levels have been reduced. If your living patterns change and you begin occupying a lower level of your home (such as a basement) you should re-test your home on that level. In addition, it is a good idea to re-test your home sometime in the future to be sure radon levels remain low.
Radon and Home Renovations
If you are planning any major renovations, such as converting an unfinished basement area into living space, it is especially important to test the area for radon before you begin. If your test results indicate an elevated radon level, radon-resistant techniques can be inexpensively included as part of the renovation. Major renovations can change the level of radon in any home. Test again after the work is completed.