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I am concerned about radon, what do I need to know?

What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It is the decay products of radon, called “radon daughters” that cause the hazards attributed to radon. These “daughters” are atoms of heavy metals and readily attach themselves to whatever they contact.

Can I see, taste, or smell radon?

NO. That is why people have a tendency to feel that their home is safe.


Is radon harmful?

The surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States; only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths.

How does radon enter the home?

Air pressure inside the home is usually lower than pressure in the soil around the home’s foundation. Because of this, your house acts like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings.

Who should test for radon?

Everybody.  Everyone is susceptible to lung damage by radon, and there is no way of knowing whether or not you have a problem unless you test.

How is radon measured?

It is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). Short term or canister method tests measure radon levels over a period fo 2-4 days. Long term tests such as Alpha Track measure an average value for a period of 2 months to a year. Continuous methods give hourly radon readings which are then usually averaged. Fredericktowne Labs is listed by the EPA as an approved laboratory for performing these tests.


What level of radon is considered “safe”?

The EPA’s goal is that the indoor radon level be no more than the outdoor level, which is about 0.4 pCi/L; however, levels below 4.0 pCi/L are considered acceptable.

Should I take steps to repair my home if it tests higher than 4.0 pCi/L?

The EPA recommends fixing your home if the results of one long-term test or two short-term tests taken in the lowest lived-in-level of the home show radon levels of 4.0 pCi/L or higher. If you choose to do two short term measurements, it is advised that you perform the test during different seasons of the year.

If radon is found in my air, should I test my water?

It is a good idea to test your water as well if your radon in air test comes back with a level above the MCL.  Radon comes from the ground, as does your water, and corrective actions taken to reduce the amount of radon in your air will not help reduce the amount of radon in your water.



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