Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas, which is invisible, odorless, and tasteless. It can cause problems in residential structures and is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths.
Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and gets into the air you breathe. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Radon can be found all over the U.S. It has a propensity to be present in any type of building, including homes, offices, and schools, but the greatest exposure risk tends to be in residential structures, where most of everyone’s time is spent. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into a building or structure through cracks and other holes in the foundation. The structure traps radon inside where it can build up. Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels.
Farmer Environmental Group routinely provides radon testing for clients with single and multi-family residential structures. This testing is typically driven by requirements from lending institutions during property purchases or refinancing. Typically, initial testing is conducted using short-term testing kits placed within the living spaces of a residential structure on the lowest occupied floor for a period of 48 to 96 hours. Once testing is completed, the testing kit is submitted to an accredited laboratory for analysis.
Know the Facts
The amount of radon in the air is measured in “picocuries per liter of air,” or “pCi/L.”
According to the USEPA, the average indoor radon level is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi/L, and about 0.4 pCi/L of radon is normally found in the outside air. The U.S. Congress has set a long-term goal that indoor radon levels be no more than outdoor levels. While this goal is not yet technologically achievable in all cases, most homes today can be reduced to 2 pCi/L or below.
Sometimes short-term tests are less definitive about whether or not your home is above 4 pCi/L. This can happen when your results are close to 4 pCi/L. For example, if the average of your two short-term test results is 4.1 pCi/L, there is about a 50% chance that your year-round average is somewhat below 4 pCi/L. However, the EPA believes that any radon exposure carries some risk, and therefore no level of radon is safe.