If you are not familiar with the harmful effects of radon gas, you are not alone. In our experience, around half of the people that have called into our company, or have met us at various trade shows, have not heard of radon or its harmful effects until they decided to sell their home. Radon testing and mitigation are very commonly associated with real estate transactions because of how few homes are tested for radon prior to a home inspection. Radon testing being included as part of a home inspection is a fairly recent development, so most homes that have been lived in for a long period of time probably have never been tested for radon. This is, unless the owner of the home took it upon themselves to get a radon test kit or have a company come out and test their home for radon.
With little awareness and education out there about radon (currently the federal radon program is defunded), many people get rightly confused or angry about the possibility of having to install a radon mitigation system on the home they are selling. In this article, we want to not only raise awareness about the harmful effects of radon gas, but also encourage everyone to have their home tested for radon even if one doesn't plan on selling or buying a new home.
With that being said, here are a few reasons you should start caring about radon:
1. RADON GAS IS KNOWN TO CAUSE LUNG CANCER
Radon gas is a Class A carcinogen, meaning it is known to cause cancer in humans (lung cancer specifically). Radon decays at a fast rate and gives off small radioactive particles that can attach themselves to things like moisture or dust in the air. When inhaled, over a long period of time, this can cause damage to the cells that are in the lining of the lungs. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and can affect anyone. No matter your age, race, or prior medical conditions you can be susceptible to the harmful effects of radon. Out of the five main causes of lung cancer which include smoking, radon gas, asbestos, pollution, and genetics; radon gas ranks second only to smoking in the number of lung cancer cases caused. If you are a smoker, your odds of getting lung cancer are increased substantially if your home has an elevated radon level. At Lifetime Radon Solutions, we feel that the possible health effects radon can cause is more than enough of a reason to have your home tested. Radon testing is easy and affordable to do.
2. PETS ARE AFFECTED BY RADON GAS TOO
Humans are not the only ones who can get lung cancer from elevated radon levels in their home. In fact, household pets can be more susceptible to the ill effects of elevated radon levels in a home because of their higher respiratory rate, and their propensity to be low to the ground (where radon levels are at their highest). Many cats and dogs love to hang out in the basement and even sleep down there. Due to radon’s tendency to build up in the lowest level of the home, this can cause significant harm to your pets if they are exposed for lengthy periods of time. Unfortunately, we have heard of many cases where a family’s beloved pet developed lung cancer likely due to radon exposure. Taking action by properly testing your home and installing a radon mitigation system if necessary can not only protect your own health, but the health of your furry friends as well.
3. HOMEOWNERS ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES AFFECTED
It is a common misconception that radon gas can only build up in residential homes and smaller structures. Radon gas can become trapped in any structure, no matter how large. We have received elevated radon test results from apartments, condos, office buildings, storefronts, factories, and schools. Fortunately, even large buildings can be mitigated to a safe level. The unfortunate part is, many times these types of buildings are not tested or mitigated. If you live, work, or go to school in one of these larger structures, it is important to ask the owner of the building if they have conducted a radon test in the past. If they have not, you should request that one be done. You can personally test your apartment, or condo with a charcoal testing kit or have a company like Lifetime Radon Solutions bring in a digital testing monitor. However, if mitigation is necessary, the owner of the building must approve of the system being installed on their property.
4. HAVING BEDROOMS OR EXERCISE ROOMS IN YOUR BASEMENT MAY PUT YOU AT A HIGHER RISK
We believe it is necessary to test your home no matter how it is constructed. However, it is especially important to take action if you have a bedroom or exercise area in the lowest level of your residence. If you sleep downstairs, you could possibly be consistently breathing in elevated radon levels for 6-10 hours every single night. As for having an exercise room in the basement, staying healthy by working out could end up being counterproductive if you are doing it in an area that has dangerous levels of radon gas. Your increased respiratory rate from exercising paired with being low to the ground during certain exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, yoga, etc. can put you at a higher risk than normal. If you have either a bedroom or an exercise room in your basement, we would highly suggest installing a radon mitigation system no matter what.
5. RADON LEVELS CAN BE ELEVATED ON UPPER FLOORS AS WELL; NOT JUST IN THE BASEMENT.
“Why should I test my basement if it's rarely used?”
We hear this statement a lot from the general public regarding testing their home for radon. While there is generally a smaller risk of radon exposure if you don’t use your basement, this isn’t always the case. Some homes can have such a high concentration of radon gas in the lowest level of the home that the radon levels on the next floor can creep up into the danger zone as well. This is why we urge every single homeowner to perform a radon test no matter how the home is built or used. We have seen some extremely high radon test readings in the past from homes with unfinished basements, and many of them have tested high on the main floor as well after further examination.
Our motto is “Why Risk It?” because there is no reason to risk radon exposure when radon testing is extremely affordable and fast.
In conclusion, we at Lifetime Radon feel that radon awareness is very important. Whatever your reason is, whether it be your health, your family's health, your pet’s health, or to increase the value of your home, TEST YOUR HOME FOR RADON! You will not regret it. Stay safe everyone!
Lifetime Radon Solutions