Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless radioactive gas. It is formed by the natural radioactive decay of uranium in rock, soil, water and building materials. Low levels of uranium naturally occur in the Earth’s soil and rock. Once produced, radon gas will enter a home through foundation walls and floors and then move to the spaces above. Radon can also be present in the well water of a home. It can be found in all 50 states. Unless you test for radon gas, there is no way of telling how much is present in your home or office environment.
The U.S. Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States . Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. This can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime. Not everyone exposed to elevated levels of radon will develop lung cancer, and the amount of time between exposure and the onset of the disease may be many years.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that any radon exposure carries some risk yet every home has some level of radon gas. The EPA recommends homes be remediated if an occupant’s long-term exposure will average 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher. Nearly one out of every 15 homes has a radon level the EPA considers to be elevated. Based on a national residential radon survey completed in 1991, the average indoor radon level is 1.3 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) in the United States. The average outdoor level is about 0.4 pCi/L.
At East Coast Home Inspections, we use continuous radon monitors to measure the radon levels in your home. These monitors record the radon levels every hour, are tamper resistant, and therefore are more accurate when compared against the canister devices used by much of our competition. We typically place the monitor in the home at the time of the inspection with the test taking two to four days to complete. Radon monitors can also be installed at the site several days before the inspection allowing the results to be available at the time the home is inspected. With our equipment there is no need to wait for laboratory analysis. East Coast Home Inspections will have the results immediately upon completion of the test.
The information contained on this page is not exhaustive and is meant to be only an overview. For complete documentation on this subject please contact Local, State or Federal heath officials.