Frequently Asked Questions About Radon

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Q. What is Radon?

Radon is a radioactive element that is part of the radioactive decay chain of naturally-occurring uranium in the soil. Radon is colorless, odorless, naturally occurring, invisible, tasteless, inert radioactive gas. Unlike carbon monoxide and many other home pollutants, radons¬†adverse health effect, lung cancer, is usually not produced immediately. Thus you may be exposed to Radon for many years without ever suspecting its’ presence in your home.

Q. What does Radon do?

Radon is a class A Carcinogen that causes lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Q. Is there Radon in my home?

Yes. All homes have some Radon. Regardless whether the home is older, new, large, small, with a basement, or built over a crawlspace or slab foundation – all homes have Radon. In some homes Radon levels can be elevated to levels that significantly increase the incidence of lung cancer. The only way to know if your home has elevated levels is to test.

Q. How do you test for Radon?

The only way to learn of the presence of Radon is to use and instrument or device that is designed to measure or detect it. Radon Detection Services uses CRM’s (continuous radon monitor) that track the hourly levels and then give the average over the time period of the testing. This gives an immediate reading without having to send anything to a lab. The readings from this type of monitor are more accurate and tamper proof.

Q. Is your test equipment harmful to children and pets?

No. Radon monitors do not emit anything. They are a specialized type of Geiger counter which measures alpha particles of radiation. They log the hourly Radon levels, as well as the average for the testing period. They also document any touching, bumping, or power interruptions to the monitor.

Q. What is a normal Radon level?

As with all carcinogens, the lower the level of exposure, the better. Average outdoor levels are 0.3 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L), and indoor levels vary. The average indoor Radon level in the U.S. is 1.3 pCi/L. The EPA and the Illinois Division of Nuclear Safety (DNS) say that levels under 2.0 pCi/L are ideal and levels 3.9 pCi/L and below are acceptable. The EPA and DNS recommend that action be taken to lower Radon levels at 4.0 pCi/L or above.

Q. What can I do if my home has a high Radon level?

All homes can be fixed. A licensed Radon Mitigation Professional will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your home.

Q. What are the effects of Radon Exposure?

Long term exposure is known to cause lung cancer in humans. Ten percent of all lung cancer deaths annually are attributed to Radon exposure.

Radon gas decays into particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breath. As they break down further, these particles release small bursts of energy. These can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime. There are no immediate symptoms associated with Radon exposure, and not everyone exposed to elevated levels of Radon will develop lung cancer. The amount of time between exposure and the onset of the disease may be many years. There is no evidence that children are more at risk from Radon exposure, but minimizing lifetime exposure should start as early as possible.

Before You Buy a Test Kit You need to know when it is appropriate to use one: A test kit is never appropriate for any test being done in conjunction with a real estate transaction, whether you are the buyer or seller. A test kit is not a good choice for the first test done after a mitigation system is installed. A test kit is a great choice for homeowners when they are testing for the first time for their own interest or doing their two year check-up test. There are two types of homeowner test kits are: Short-term and Long-term.