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Just the Facts: Radon Realities, Testing, & Dangers

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that, similar to carbon monoxide, is scentless and invisible. Testing is the only way to determine if there is radon inside a building, and prolonged exposure to radon gas can cause health problems down the road including lung cancer. According to the EPA, radon causes about 21,000 cases of lung cancer every year – making it the second leading cause of that type of cancer, second only to smoking.

There is always a risk

No matter how lavish or run down, there is always a risk of elevated levels of radon. This is why, in many states, a radon test is done in homes before they are sold. It is a good idea to do this in rental spaces as well. While you can pick up a radon test kit at a local hardware store, there is a much greater chance of error in the results going that route. Hiring a professional company, like Lamunyon, to do the test for you guarantees the results will be accurate and you can literally breathe easy in your home. The fact is the EPA says homes with very high levels of radon have been found in every state. They can even vary greatly from home to home on the same city block in Manhattan. So, just because your radon test comes back negative or within safe limits does not mean your next door neighbor is in the clear, too. It is a good idea to have radon testing done every time you buy a home or move into a new space. It is also good to run another test any time you do any major renovations, or make any changes to the foundation of your home.

What are acceptable levels?

So what are acceptable levels? Well, the EPA says the average indoor radon level is about 1.3 pCi/L (that stands for picocuries per liter of air). The U.S. Surgeon General and EPA suggest every home be below the 4 pCi/L level, and even recommends people with a test coming back in the 2-4 pCi/L range to also consider remediation. The good news is, if a test comes back with elevated levels of radon, it can be fixed. This is not a do-it-yourself project, and should be done by a company well experienced and trained in this kind of job. The best route to fix the problem depends on the construction of your home, but you can rest assured getting rid of the radon gas will not require any major renovations or major projects. Radon gets into a home with air from under your foundation. So, during the mitigation process, it is important to force that air to go in another direction – not into your home. If you have not ever done a radon test in your existing home, it is a good idea to have one done. Lamunyon is part of the National Radon Defense Network and well equipped to do the test, and if the results are less than favorable, a few adjustments in your home will have you breathing easy again.