January is RADON ACTION MONTH in the United States. With the holiday season behind us, we're staring winter square in the face. It's a good time to think about testing your home for radon. Even if you have a radon in air mitigation system, the EPA recommends follow up testing every two years. There is no "safe" level of radon. In fact, there's an associated risk of lung cancer with exposure to any level of radon. The EPA's 4.0 pCi/l Action Level is a level at which to take "ACTION" to reduce radon concentrations and reduce exposure risk...it IS NOT a "safe level"!
Radon in air concentrations fluctuate in direct correlation with weather conditions. Winter time is "worst case" scenario for radon testing due in large part to the "stack effect".
RADON ACTION MONTH gives us an opportunity to think about radon exposure and the threat it presents to our families and loved ones...at a time of year when we are most likely to be exposed to the highest radon concentrations for the longest periods of time. If the home has a private water well as its' water source...the water should also be tested for radon in water concentrations.
Many home owners have the misconception that one radon test below 4.0 pCi/l indicates a "radon free" home. This flawed thinking translates into countless cases of unintended exposure to elevated radon concentrations by unsuspecting home owners and their families. Many of these victims of circumstance can trace their unrealized exposure dilemma back to the purchase of their home. " But when we bought the home - there was no radon" is a phrase that is all too commonly recited by disenchanted homeowners selling their home and having to mitigate elevated radon levels before they can close the sales transaction.
The largest percentage of homes mitigated for radon are a result of the home inspection process during a real estate transaction. Paradoxically, the largest number of unsuspecting homeowners being exposed to elevated radon levels on a yearly basis are a result of the home sale / inspection process. Here's why...
Home inspections are an integral component of the real estate transaction process. Radon testing (or a real estate radon screening measurement) is part of this process. When a "for sale" home tests high for radon... most often it is mitigated before title is transfered. When considering that the real estate market - in general - realizes maximum sales volume in spring and summer, many of these home inspections yield "low" or "lower" radon screening results simply because of the time of year the home is being tested (inspected - sold).
Unfortunately, most homeowners never bother to follow up with a cold weather radon test. This oftentimes results in homeowners being exposed to elevated radon concentrations (albeit for a portion of the year) for as long as they own their home, because they have been lulled into a false sense of security by the one low result they got at the time of the original inspection / test.
Radon is a class 1 carcinogen...it is the number one source of lung cancer in non - smokers, is naturally occuring, is on the periodic table of elements, is found everywhere to some degree, is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, is easy to test for, is fixable...and most importantly - IS REAL! It's RADON ACTION MONTH... TAKE ACTION! - test your home today!