What is Radon
(the information provided here is taken from the EPA website)
Exposure to Radon Causes Lung Cancer In Non-smokers and Smokers Alike
Lung cancer kills thousands of Americans every year. Smoking, radon, and secondhand smoke are the leading causes of lung cancer. Although lung cancer can be treated, the survival rate is one of the lowest for those with cancer. From the time of diagnosis, between 11 and 15 percent of those afflicted will live beyond five years, depending upon demographic factors. In many cases lung cancer can be prevented.
Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Smoking causes an estimated 160,000* cancer deaths in the U.S. every year (American Cancer Society, 2004). And the rate among women is rising. On January 11, 1964, Dr. Luther L. Terry, then U.S. Surgeon General, issued the first warning on the link between smoking and lung cancer. Lung cancer now surpasses breast cancer as the number one cause of death among women. A smoker who is also exposed to radon has a much higher risk of lung cancer.
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How Can I test For Radon
If you are interested in finding a qualified radon service professional to mitigate (fix) your home:
Contact your state radon contact to determine what are, or whether there are, requirements associated with providing radon services in your state. Some states maintain lists of contractors available in their state or they have proficiency programs or requirements of their own.
Contact one or both of the two privately-run national radon certification programs (listed below alphabetically) that are offering the following in radon testing and mitigation:
National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP)
Toll Free: (800) 269-4174 or (828) 890-4117
Fax: (828) 890-4161
Email: National Radon Proficiency Program (firstname.lastname@example.org)
National Radon Safety Board (NRSB)
Toll Free: (866) 329-3474
Fax: (914) 345-1169
Email: National Radon Safety Board (info@NRSB.org)
What do the Test Results Mean
The U.S. Congress has set a long-term goal that indoor radon levels be no more than outdoor levels; about 0.4 pCi/L of radon is normally found in the outside air. EPA recommends fixing your home if the results of one longterm test or the average of two shortterm tests show radon levels of 4 pCi/L
or higher. With today’s technology, radon levels in most homes can be reduced to 2 pCi/L or below. You also
may want to consider fixing if the level is between 2 and 4 pCi/L.
A short-term test remains in your home for two days to 90 days, whereas a long-term test remains in your home for more than 90 days. All radon tests should be taken for a minimum of 48 hours. A short-term test will yield faster results, but a long-term test will give you a better understanding of your home’s year-round average radon level. EPA recommends two categories of
radon testing. One category is for concerned homeowners or occupants whose home is not for sale; refer to EPA’s pamphlet “A Citizen’s Guide to Radon” for testing guidance. The second category is for real estate transactions; refer to EPA’s pamphlet
“Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon,” which provides guidance and answers to some common questions. Both documents are available at https://www.epa.gov/radon/publications-about-radon
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How Do I Reduce Radon in my Home
EPA recommends that you have a qualified radon mitigation contractor fix
your home because lowering high radon levels requires specific technical
knowledge and special skills. Without the proper equipment or technical
knowledge, you could actually increase your radon level or create other potential
hazards and additional costs. However, if you decide to do the work yourself, get
information on appropriate training courses from your state radon office.
EPA recommends that you use a certified or qualified radon mitigation
contractor trained to fix radon problems. You can determine a service
provider’s qualifications to perform radon measurements or to mitigate your
home in several ways. First, check with your state radon office. Many states require radon professionals to be licensed, certified or registered, and to install radon mitigation systems that meet state requirements. Most states can provide you with a list of knowledgeable radon service providers doing business in the state (https://www.epa.gov/radon/find-information-about-local-radon-zones-and radon-programs).
In states that don’t regulate radon services, ask the contractor if they hold a professional proficiency or certification credential, and if they follow industry consensus standards, such as the American Society for Testing and Materials, ASTM, Standard Practice for Installing Radon Mitigation Systems in Existing Low-Rise Residential Buildings, E2121. You can contact private proficiency programs for lists of privately certified professionals in your area. Such programs usually provide members with a photo ID card, which indicates their qualifications and the ID card’s expiration date. For more information on private
proficiency programs, visit www.epa.gov or contact your state radon office.
Myths About Radon in Homes
- My Neighbor does not have Radon, I should not have either.
- Radon Only exists in basements.
- If I don’t have a basement I don’t have Radon.
- Radon only affects the elderly.