WHAT IS RADON? Long answer? Radon is a rare radioactive gas belonging to the noble gas series, which includes helium, neon, argon, krypton, and xenon. Radon [Rn] is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, and, most importantly, has been found in homes all over the United States. It occurs naturally. Radon comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. When homes and businesses are built above uranium deposits, radon can come up into the air we breathe and become trapped (concentrated) in our structures.
Many homes sold today are now tested for radon during the Home Inspection process. Real Estate Professionals handle this testing routinely. Homeowners are increasingly recognizing the threat of radon gas and learning to test, monitor and mitigate.
Northwest Radon Detection
Serving Oregon and Washington Realtors, Inspectors and Homeowners
About Radon in Homes & Radon Testing Today
NORTHWEST RADON DETECTION
Getting right on your radon testing!
That's us! We answer radon questions.
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WHY DOES RADON BECOME TRAPPED IN A HOME? It's all about air pressure. Usually, a home's inside air pressure is lower than the soil around a building's foundation. In effect, the house acts like a vacuum, drawing radon in through cracks and other openings. The structure then traps the gas inside our well-insulated homes, where you and your loved ones work, play and sleep.
Important: Elevated levels of radon have been found in all kinds of US homes: new, old, well-sealed, drafty, with/without basements. (Construction materials and the way the home has been built may also affect radon levels. Seasons affect levels as well.) Studies show that radon gas in the soil may be as much as 10 times higher in the winter than summer.
IS RADON REALLY A PROBLEM? Yep. The Office of the US Surgeon General warned that radon is the #2 cause of lung cancer, and issued a National Health Advisory in 2005, citing that "radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year."
The American Cancer Society is also concerned about radon. They believe radon gas causes radon-related lung cancer in people who smoke and that there is "a significant number of lung cancer deaths among non-smokers. Some studies have suggested that radon exposure may be linked to other types of cancer as well, such as childhood leukemia."
Check out some more useful links.
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES I HAVE A RADON PROBLEM? The only way to know for sure is to test. Many of our Clients are Real Estate Professionals, who use our certified radon-testing company because we can provide continuous monitoring and detailed reports that capture such factors as air pressure, temperature, and the average radon concentration by the hour in a structure.
Note: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that most homes have an average radon level of 1.3 pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter). A reading of 4 pCi/L means mitigation, but because there is really no known "safe level" of exposure to radon, the EPA also suggests fixing homes with levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. The World Health Organization recommends mitigating radon with a reading of 2.7 pCi/L.
"Our clients greatly appreciate [Northwest Radon Detection's] detailed reports and explanations, and we couldn't ask for better service.”
Sohee Anderson Team, Windermere Realty Trust
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WHAT IF MY RADON TEST SHOWS A HIGH LEVEL OF RADON? The answer is it depends on the test. If you performed a DIY Radon Test and got a radon level in excess of 4 pCi/L, hire a Certified Radon Measurement Professional (we call 'em Radon Detectives) ASAP to complete further testing.
Chances are you need a second opinion. Most likely, your first radon test was short-term (two to 90 days with a continously operating radon monitor). Short-term testing is good for those needing results quickly, but, remember, radon levels fluctuate seasonally due to weather and house conditions, so we recommend repeating short-term radon tests. Compare the two results. In fact, think of short-term radon testing like your annual dental cleaning or changing out your smoke alarms: You do it twice.
Then there is long-term testing for radon (90 days or longer). Long-term testing gives us more insight into the average year-round radon levels in your home. This scope is what we need to determine what happens next in terms of mitigation. Give us a call and we can help you decide your best option.
CAN I TRUST RADON TESTING & MITIGATION? Yes. If you learn from a repeated short-term radon test, or one long-term test, that you have moderate to high levels of radon in your home, don't panic. Action is required, but the good news is that there are tried and true technologies that will mitigate your risk of lung cancer. You can reduce radon concentrations in the indoor air by installing a mitigation system. Many systems can keep radon levels down to an acceptable level. Cost will depend on the size and design of the home or business.
NOTE: Northwest Radon Detection does not perform radon mitigation. We offer useful links, including to a National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) Certified Radon Service Guide.
HOW LONG CAN I TAKE THE RISK OF RADON-RELATED CANCER? Not our favorite question, but it's legitimate. Lung cancer from exposure to radon can take a long period to manifest. But consider this: Radon gas decays into tiny radioactive elements (called radon progeny). These elements can lodge in the lining of our lungs, where they can give off radiation that damages lung cells and eventually lead to lung cancer. When an alpha particle damages a cell to make it cancerous, the onset of lung cancer takes a minimum of five years.
Signs and symptoms of lung cancer from radon exposure: Persistent Cough -- Hoarseness -- Wheezing -- Shortness of Breath -- Coughing Blood -- Chest Pain -- Frequent Infections (Bronchitis and Pneumonia) -- Loss of Appetite.