Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of Uranium in soil,rock, and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can also enter your home through well water. Your home can trap radon inside. Any home can have a radon problem… old homes, well sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements or crawlspaces. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home. That is where you spend most of your time.
Whether you are buying or selling a home, it should be tested for radon.
For a new home, ask if radon-resistant construction features were used and if the home has been tested. Testing is the only way to find out your home’s radon levels.
EPAand the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.
If you find that you have high radon levels, there are ways to fix a radon problem. Even very high levels of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher can be reduced to acceptable levels. Radon levels of less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk and in many cases may be reduced.
*Radon is estimated to cause about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year, according to EPA’s 2003 Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003). The numbers of deaths from other causes are taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2005-2006 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Report and 2006 National Safety Council Rep
The radon test result is important information about your home’s radon level. Some
states require radon measurement testers to follow a specific testing protocol. If you do the test yourself, you should carefully follow the testing protocol for your area or EPA’s Radon Testing Checklist. If you hire a contractor 20 to test your residence, protect yourself by hiring a qualified* 34 individual or company.
You can determine a service provider’s qualifications to perform radon
measurements or to mitigate your home in several ways. Check with your state
radon office. Many states require radon professionals to be licensed, certified, or
registered. Most states can provide you with a list of knowledgeable radon service
providers doing business in the state. In states that don’t regulate radon services,
ask the contractor if they hold a professional proficiency or certification
credential. Such programs usually provide members with a photo-ID card, which
indicates their qualification(s) and its expiration date. If in doubt, you should
check with their credentialing organization. Alternatively, ask the contractor
if they’ve successfully completed formal training appropriate for testing or
mitigation, e.g., a course in radon measurement or radon mitigation.