Radon test: What you should know

What is radon?

  • Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas caused by the breakdown of uranium.
  • You can not see, smell or taste radon.
  • The Surgeon General warns that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the Untied States, causing as many as 20,000 deaths annually.

What are the risks of radon?

  • A family whose home has a radon level of 4 pCI/l is exposed to approximately 35 times as much radiation as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows if they were standing next to the fence of a radioactive waste site.
  • An elementary school student that spends 8 hours a day and 180 days per year in a classroom with 4 pCi/l of radon will receive nearly 10 times as much radiation as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows at the edge of a nuclear power plant.
  • Most United States EPA lifetime safety standards for carcinogens are established based on a 1 in 100,000 risk of death. Most scientists agree that the risk of death for radon at 4 pCi/l is approximately 1,000 times the risk of death as any other EPA carcinogen (based on information from the National Cancer Institute).

How do I know if I have radon in my home?

  • The only way to determine the level of radon in your home is to have it tested by a licensed radon measurement specialist.
  • There are several testing devices available, but only electronic monitors can tract the radon levels on an hourly basis to determine fluctuations and tampering of the testing device.
  • It is required to test for a minimum of 48 hours. All doors and windows must be kept closed for the entire test, except for normal in-and-out usage.
  • The tests are to be set in the lowest livable area. This does not mean the lowest finished area.

What if I have a level of radon above 4 pCi/l?

  • Commonly, having a home mitigated is the only way to ensure a reduction in the level of radon.
  • Once mitigated, a homeowner can feel comfortable knowing that the radon levels will always be below 4 pCi/l as long as the mitigation system is operating properly. This can be easily monitored by viewing the U-tube on the mitigation piping. Consult with the installation company regarding operation on individual systems.
  • A mitigation system is considered an improvement to the property and should be considered a selling point and not a negative issue.

To set up a radon measurement test, contact AmeriSpec Omaha and Lincoln at 402-393-3696.