Radon is a radioactive gas that is naturally occurring and is produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks. It is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is known to cause lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, after smoking, and is responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths annually. Radon testing is crucial to protect the health and safety of occupants of homes and other buildings. However, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding radon testing. In this article, we will separate fact from fiction and provide accurate information on radon testing.
Myth #1: Radon is only a problem in certain parts of the country.
Fact: Radon is present in every state in the USA, and it can be found in homes and buildings anywhere. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified high-risk areas in the country, which include parts of the Northeast, Midwest, and Rocky Mountain regions. However, radon levels can vary greatly between homes, even those that are located next to each other.
Myth #2: Radon testing is expensive and time-consuming.
Fact: Radon testing is easy and affordable, and can be done by homeowners or professionals. Short-term testing devices are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at hardware stores or online. Long-term testing devices are more expensive than short-term devices but provide more accurate results over a longer period of time. Testing for radon is a quick and straightforward process that typically takes only a few days.
Myth #3: Radon testing is only necessary for homes with basements.
Fact: Radon can enter any type of home or building, including those without basements. Radon can enter through cracks in foundations, walls, and floors, as well as through openings around pipes, drains, and utility lines. It is important to test all areas of a home or building, regardless of the type of construction.
Myth #4: Radon is only a problem in older homes.
Fact: Radon can be found in homes of any age, including newly constructed homes. The age of a home has no correlation with the presence of radon. It is important to test for radon in all homes and buildings, regardless of their age.
Myth #5: Radon levels can be reduced by simply sealing cracks and openings.
Fact: While sealing cracks and openings can help reduce the entry of radon into a home or building, it is not an effective long-term solution. Radon levels can only be effectively reduced through proper mitigation techniques, such as sub-slab depressurization, which involves creating a suction point beneath the foundation of the home to vent the radon gas out of the house, and ventilation systems that bring in fresh air and expel radon gas.
Myth #6: Radon testing is not necessary if your neighbor’s home has low radon levels.
Fact: Radon levels can vary greatly between homes, even those that are located next to each other. It is important to test all homes and buildings individually, regardless of the radon levels in neighboring homes.
Myth #7: Radon is only a problem in homes with a crawl space.
Fact: Radon can enter any type of home or building, including those with crawl spaces. Radon can enter through openings in the crawl space, such as cracks in the foundation walls or floor, gaps around pipes, or unsealed vents.
Radon testing is a crucial step in protecting the health and safety of occupants of homes and other buildings. By separating fact from fiction, we can better understand the importance of radon testing and take appropriate action to reduce radon levels if necessary