Radon: Why it matters
Any home can have a radon problem – old or new homes, well-sealed or drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. It is estimated that nearly 1 in 15 homes in the U.S. and Canada has an elevated level of radon. Prolonged exposure to unsafe levels of radon can create an increased risk of lung cancer; in fact, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Lung cancer caused by avoidable radon exposure is preventable, but only if radon issues are detected and mitigated prior to prolonged exposure in homes and buildings. There is real risk in not knowing if a home has a high level of radon.
WHAT IS RADON?
Radon is a naturally occurring odorless, colorless, radioactive gas formed by the ongoing decay of uranium in soil, rocks, sediments, and even well or ground water. While radon that escapes into the atmosphere is not harmful, dangerously high concentrations can build up indoors, exposing residents to possible health risks.
HOW DOES RADON GET INTO A HOME?
Radon gas can migrate into the home in several ways. Openings or cracks in basement walls, foundations or floors are common avenues. Sumps, basement drains, and spaces between gas or water fittings can also allow radon into the structure. Other entry points can include gaps in suspended floors and cavities within walls.
HOW CAN I MAKE SURE MY FAMILIES AREN’T AT RISK?
We encourage homeowners to request that radon testing be conducted as part of the home inspection process. Your inspector will set up the monitoring equipment in the home and report on the results. If an elevated level of radon is detected, steps can be taken to reduce the concentration to or below acceptable levels inside virtually any home. These can include a relatively simple setup such as a collection system with a radon vent pipe, which prevents radon from entering the home in the first place. Professional mitigation services can provide recommendations for a home’s specific conditions.