Radon is an invisible and odorless gas that many people do not know is in their homes and can pose serious health risks.
What is Radon:
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the decay of uranium in the rock and soil below your home. It is naturally drawn up into your home through a process called the stack effect. Elevated levels or even low levels of radon over a long period can lead to lung cancer.
What are the Dangers:
While radon is an invisible gas, it can lead to serious health implications. Prolonged exposure to elevated levels is the leading cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking. Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that, when inhaled, damage lung tissue and increase the risk of lung cancer over time. The dangers are greater in enclosed spaces where concentrations can build up.+
How to Test for Radon:
First, you will want to test your home for radon. There are several options available to meet your needs.
Short-Term Test Kits:
One option is a short-term test kit, which is typically the quickest and lasts between 3-7 days. Once the testing period is complete, mail it to the lab for results. These tests are convenient and can provide a quick snapshot of the radon levels. They are often used as initial screenings and for post-mitigation results.
Long-Term Test Kits:
Another option is a long-term test kit, which is an extended 90-365-day test. This test is also mailed to a lab for results. Long-term tests provide a comprehensive understanding of average levels in your home. These tests can provide a more accurate assessment or confirm initial short-term results and are recommended for a thorough analysis of radon exposure.
Another option are digital monitors, which provide real-time results and effectively capture fluctuations over time. A digital display lets you see initial results in as little as 10 minutes, and some monitors even offer remote access from your smartphone. These monitors are not EPA-approved and should not be used to make standalone mitigation decisions. You will want to ensure you back up the results with an EPA-approved test kit or professional test.
Professional Continuous Radon Monitoring (CRM):
Finally, professional continuous radon monitors (CRM) provide real-time data on radon concentrations in your home. These testing devices must be calibrated annually, and a licensed testing professional should administer testing. Contact us to set up a professional test.
Test Results and Mitigation Decisions:
< 2.0 pCi/L – The EPA believes that any radon exposure carries some risk; no level of radon is safe. Reducing levels below 2 pCi/L is difficult, but our team uses Pressure Field Extention (PFE) diagnostic testing on every mitigation to get levels as low as possible. If you are not ready to mitigate, we recommend a long-term test kit or a digital monitor to see what your levels do over several seasons and reevaluate.
2.0-3.9 pCi/l – The EPA recommendation for results in this range is to conduct further tests to determine the actual annual average, ideally with a long-term test kit. If the result remains between 2 and 4, there is little short-term risk, but you should consider fixing your home.
>4.0 pCi/L – The EPA strongly recommends mitigation to reduce adverse health effects.
Understanding the dangers of radon and taking proactive steps to measure and mitigate is essential to maintaining a healthy home that protects you and your loved ones. If you prefer professional assistance with testing or mitigation and live within 1 hour of the Minneapolis, MN, area, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free estimate.