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Important Radon Info

Important Facts About Radon

The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends radon testing when you buy a home. The following information was taken in part from the EPA web page on radon:

You cannot see, smell, or taste radon. When you breathe air containing radon, you increase your risk of getting lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General of the United States has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.

Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can also enter your home through well water. Your home can trap radon inside.

Any home can have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home. That is where you spend most of your time.

Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.

Do not rely on radon test results taken in other homes in the neighborhood to estimate the radon level in your home.  Homes which are next to each other can have different radon levels.  Testing is the only way to find out what your home's radon level is.

If you are thinking of buying a home, you may decide to accept an earlier test result from the seller, or ask the seller for a new test to be conducted by a qualified radon tester.  Before you accept the seller's test, you should determine:

  • The results of previous testing
  • Who conducted the previous test:  the homeowner, a radon professional, or some other person
  • Where in the home the previous test was taken, especially if you may plan to live in a lower level of the home.  For example, the test may have been taken on the first floor.  However, if you want to use the basement as living space, test there
  • What, if any, structural changes, alterations, or changes in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system have been made to the house since the test was done.  Such changes may affect radon levels

The EPA recommends that you take action to reduce your home's indoor radon levels if your radon test result is 4 pCi/L or higher. 

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