Facts About Radon Levels
Radon testing comes up frequently in home inspection conversations. Many homeowners are unaware of the adverse effects of radon and how important testing for it is. The inspection experts at Inspect-It 1st put together a quick radon facts guide to help you learn more about what it is, what it does, and why testing for it is important.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. It is odorless and colorless making it impossible to detect without the proper equipment. When inhaled, radon can be incredibly damaging to the human body. So much so that the Surgeon General of the United States identified radon as the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.
High levels of radon in your home can exponentially increase your family’s likelihood of developing lung cancer. Some studies point to children being more susceptible to the adverse impacts of radon due to their higher respiration rates and rapidly dividing cells.
Where Can Radon Be Found in the Home?
Radon is typically located in the ground, groundwater, or building materials of a home. As uranium naturally breaks down in soil, rock, and water, radon occurs and gets into the air we breathe or the water we drink. Radon in the air is much more common and is how humans typically end up inhaling it.
- There are a number of ways radon can get into your home including:
- Cracks in solid floors
- Construction joints
- Cracks in walls
- Gaps in suspended floors
- Gaps around service pipes
- Cavities inside walls
- Water supply
While radon occurs everywhere, you are most likely to be exposed to it at home, where you spend the majority of your time.
What are the Dangers of Radon?
Radon can cause many health issues, but the most severe problem is lung cancer. Radon is the first leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and second leading cause of lung cancer globally.
Smokers see even greater health impacts of radon due to their already elevated level of lung cancer risk. Smokers are much more susceptible to developing lung cancer if they have also been exposed to radon.
Can You Test For Radon?
Yes! You can very quickly test for radon and you should. Testing is the only positive way to ensure that you and your family are not exposed to dangerous levels of radon. Test all floors lower than the third floor. We recommend calling your local Inspect-It 1st expert to do the testing to ensure that the test is accurate, but there are home-test kits that can give you a quick snapshot of your potential radon levels.
When Should I Test?
If you are moving into a new house, have just completed building your house, are moving into a new rental space, or have no current record of a radon test for your home, you should test for radon. Many homes are now built with radon resistance, but you should still test to be safe.
What Level of Radon is Safe?
Average radon rates in homes are about 1.3 pico Curies per liter of air [pCi/L]. To be safe, radon levels in your home should be below 4 pCi/L. While there is no “safe” amount of radon, the Environmental Protection Agency identified below 4 pCi/L as an acceptable amount for a safe home. A proper test can tell you exactly what your radon levels are. If your levels are above 4 pCi/L, it is time to take action to reduce them.
How to Reduce Radon Levels
Thankfully, it is possible to reduce the amount of radon in a home. Radon reduction systems are available and can be effective at removing 99% of the radon in your home. These systems use vent pipes and fans to vent radon out of your home. Sealing cracks in the foundation or other gaps in the home can also help. An Inspect-It 1st expert can assist in determining what will work best for your home.
If you suspect you have radon in your home or want to test to be safe, call your local Inspect-It 1st today!