You may be asking yourself if radon testing is important in your area. Or maybe you have heard the buzz about the exposure of radon gas and you are asking yourself do neighbors or others in the area actually have radon mitigation near me?
We have some answers to these questions and some of the answers might surprise you!
Let’s start with understanding some basics about radon gas and why you should care in the first place.
Radon gas is a natural occurring soil gas that is derived from the breakdown of uranium product present in the soil. Because it is derived from uranium, radon is highly radioactive. In fact, radon is the #1 source of radiation you will be exposed to during the course of your life!
While radon is natural occurring and present EVERYWHERE around us (including the fresh, outside air) it can grow to higher levels in confined spaces like your home or workplace. It is estimated that the average outdoor radon concentrations hover somewhere between 0.3 pCi/L and 0.7 pCi/L while the EPA and other local health organizations place the indoor action level at 4.0 pCi/L. Interestingly enough, other health organizations outside the United States, have set the action level at 2.7 pCi/L. Therefore, after these “conflicting action levels” have arose, the EPA has since updated their action level guidance to say one should highly consider radon mitigation if there levels are between 2.0 and 4.0 pCi/L. However, to be clear, the current EPA action level in the U.S. remains at 4.0 pCi/L but those with levels between 2.0 and 4.0 pCi/L are highly encouraged by the EPA to take action as levels can also fluctuate from season to season.
While all of the action level guidance is important and good to know, it is even more important to understand that no level of radon is known to be “good” or “healthy.” There is a lot of conflicting data online about this and many who claim that low levels of radon and radiation in general is somehow good for the body. While there isn’t much evidence to support this, there is a lot of compelling evidence to support the correlation that prolonged exposure to elevated levels of radon significantly increases the risk of developing radon related lung cancer. Moreover, it is also understood that many in the population, including children, have a propensity to be more sensitive to radon (and even other radiation exposure) and thus, may have an ever greater likelihood of cancer development under the same exposure as those without sensitivities. At the end of the day, I think it is important to look at the facts. The fact of the matter is, radon is considered a Class A Carcinogen meaning there is enough scientific data present to determine that it does cause cancer in humans.
Is there radon testing near me?
The simple answer to this question is yes - more than likely. The United States EPA recommends that every home be tested for radon gas. That is correct - every single home. There are a lot of misconceptions and even misinformation surrounding which homes should test for radon, however, there are way too may factors to consider and it is truly not possible to know whether a home has a radon problem or not without testing. In other words, the only way to truly know if you have a radon problem is to test your home.
Thankfully, technological advances and the dynamic economy we live in allow for very affordable home radon testing options no matter where you live! In most cases, there are 3 different options a home or business owner has for testing their property: 1.) do-it-yourself radon test kits (typically through a 3rd party lab) 2.) professional radon testing done by a certified radon professional and 3.) home use continuous radon monitors. I believe there are advantages and disadvantages to all 3 options, however, what is most important is determining which is best for you and your situation and simply taking action no matter which you choose. Lets get to the pros and cons!
At home, Do-it-yourself Radon Test Kit:
The 2 advantages to these radon test kits are that they are very affordable and that they can be done virtually anywhere and anytime. If you are concerned and thinking, “I live in a secluded area, is there a radon testing professional near me?” Then this is an awesome option for you! If you live in a very rural area or somewhere that may be tough to find and hire a certified radon professional to test your home and you are looking for the most affordable option, you can easily order a do-it-yourself kit online for around $25! Further, the EPA also recommends that homeowners test their properties every 2-years or after any major renovations or foundation work (even if you already have a radon system in place). These test kits are great options for follow-up testing in these aforementioned scenarios because of their affordability and ease of use, especially if you already have a baseline radon test to compare to. The downside of these test results, however, is that you typically only get a simple “overall short-term average” and the test results will typically lack more advanced data and reporting that can give more information about your radon levels to you or a mitigation professional should you have an issue that needs to be addressed.
Professional Radon Testing Near Me:
If your you are in a real estate transaction and/or you want the most data available in terms of your radon results, this may be the best radon testing option for you! Most real estate deals that include radon testing will require a certified radon professional to do the testing. Moreover, professional radon testing monitors can typically give you more data to analyze like hour-by-hour averages, pressure changes in the home, temperature and humidity readings and even whether or not the radon testing unit was tampered with during the testing period. All of these factors help you or a radon mitigation professional determine important information like consistencies and/or inconsistencies in your radon readings and where those might derive from. On average, you are looking at around $125-$225 for a professional radon test but depending on where you live, it could be even more costly to find someone to come out to your home. The biggest downside of professional radon testing is it is a bit more expensive.
Home Use Continuous Radon Monitors:
Some brands have been around for awhile, but home use continuous radon monitors have definitely been on the rise in recent years and lots of new brands and models are available for sale on websites like Amazon or at other large retailers. In many cases, these monitors offer similar data to those used during professional radon testing BUT it is very important to note that these units are typically not certified for professional use and will most likely not be sufficient for real estate contingencies or other instances with formal testing requirements. Moreover, many homeowners find value in these monitors because in most cases they cost about the same as a single, professional radon test (on average about $125-$250 depending on the model) but you own it (so you can test/monitor your home whenever you want, wherever you want or even lend it out to friends or family). The last advantage to these home use monitors is that you can really get consistent, long-term data and long-term radon testing is considered the most accurate because there are more data points to average. The downside of home use continuous monitors is that they are not recognized in formal situations like real estate or HUD contingencies.
Is there radon mitigation near me?
Chances are yes, there are most likely radon mitigation systems installed near you! Radon mitigation is more of a concept or service than it is a product or one size fits all solution. While testing your home is the only sure way to know if you have a radon problem, many homeowners find value in walking the neighborhood to determine if there are radon mitigation systems installed nearby or in surrounding neighborhoods. The issue with this methodology is that many times, good radon mitigation contractors will work diligently to hide radon systems from the street view of the home in order to protect the aesthetics of the property. Some ways they do this is by placing them on the backside of homes or installing them internally—through garages and closets. This is not always the case, BUT many times when you see a 3” or 4” vent pipe sticking out of a garage roof, it is a pretty good indication that there MAY be a radon mitigation system installed in that garage. See the pictures below!
The other reason that perusing a neighborhood is not a good solution to determining if your local area has a radon problem is because just as you may have been unaware of radon and its ill effects until reading this article, most people in your neighborhood probably are too! In fact, one statistic showed that as high as 80% of the population had no idea how serious radon in the air was for lung cancer development or lung health in general. Those are staggering numbers considering radon gas is estimated to be responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually in the U.S. alone.
I think it is important to note that EVERY HOME has radon. Let that sink in. It isn’t a matter of “does my home have radon” or “does it not have radon,” it is more a matter of how high are my radon levels. The higher the radon levels, the higher the chances of developing radon related lung cancer.
Understanding the data that is present and the facts about radon gas in your community are important but there is no alternative to radon testing your home.