The most effective radon testing is currently done by collecting air samples that pass through your home through a monitor that records hourly readings. We use a device that is very accurate, not only does it record hourly readings but it also has many anti-tampering features. When the Radon test is taking place it is recording the counts of Alpha particles in the air but also recording the barometric pressure in the home which will indicate if the home did not meet closed house conditions. Our monitor also has a motion/tilt feature that will report any movement of the device. Our monitors run on both battery and on direct circuit power, if the power goes out or there is no power at the testing site our machines will test for the full 48 hours, but if the monitor is plugged in and someone unplugs it or the power does go out it will be noted on the report. This method leaves virtually no room for error and takes only 48 hours to complete. The testing period is a minimum 48 hour test for a real estate transaction and the results of the test are immediate so there is no waiting around days for the results. The limit that the EPA has designated to be the point where radon will cause significant adverse health related issues is 4.0 pCi/L, going beyond this limit the EPA recommends installation of a mitigation system to remove the radon from your home to help ensure you and your family breathe safe. Any elevated level of radon is considered to be unsafe in long term exposures but the lower the number is, the less effect it has on our body.
*Video reference Cleveland Clinic Hospitals
What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that is undetectable by sight, taste, and smell. Radon is a carcinogen that causes lung cancer. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer next to cigarette smoking and is the number one environmental cause of cancer in the world. Women are at greater risk of being effected by radon. If you are exposed to radon frequently and you also smoke cigarettes you are at an extreme risk for lung cancer. Each particle of radon has a lifespan of about 4 days but since the particles are constantly replenished from the Earth the level that is in your home will typically stay the same until treatment takes place.
Where does Radon come from and how does it gets into homes and other structures?
Radon is a natural gas that is found in the earth’s soil and underground water, it is formed by the natural radioactive decay of uranium. Radon that is present under your foundation can enter your home in many ways, it can come up through the foundation no matter what form (eg. slab on grade, basement, or on a crawl space). Radon comes through cracks in your foundation, it comes in through sump systems, through low lying windows in a basement, through your well water supply, as well as many other ways. The level of radon will be higher in the basement or on the ground level of your home as it is closer to the source.
How much is too much and how it causes cancer?
Any amount of radon being inhaled regularly is harmful, according to the EPA 4.0 pCi/L (picocuries per liter of air) is the point where mitigation is necessary. The radon gas attaches itself to dust and other particles in the air and circulates throughout the rest of your home and is inhaled by everyone that is present. Radon is a carcinogen that causes cancer, specifically to the lungs and can happen in as little as just 4 years if enough of it is present.