Many people today, including home buyers, have unanswered questions in regards to radon gas and the potential health risks associated with exposure to radon gas. In an effort to provide a basic, but full understanding of radon, we must first answer the question, "What exactly is Radon? Radon gas is a decay product of Uranium. You can't smell it, taste it, or see it, yet it is a radioactive gas. Radon gas typically moves up through the ground and into the home through cracks and other holes in the foundation and ultimately the air that you breathe within your home. Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer and accounts for an average of 14,000 deaths annually. It does not cause other health hazards, such as prostate and breast cancer.
Understanding that radon gas is harmful, another frequently asked question is: Is it likely I have radon in my home and what level of radon gas is dangerous? The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency and PA DEP) estimates 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. has elevated radon levels. These levels are generally higher in Pennsylvania. The unit measurement for radon is called the picocurie and is measured in picocuries per liter. (PCI/L) While any amount of radon is potentially harmful, 4.0 pci/l is the EPA's action level. At this level, one should consider a radon mitigation system, which is basically fixing the problem.
A person can test their own home for radon, themselves, using an array of devices that can be purchased in many hardware and home improvement stores. If testing is to be done as part of a real estate transaction, then testing MUST BE conducted by a DEP certified radon tester. This is probably the most accurate method as well. The average cost for certified testing services are typically $100 – $150. If you find you have elevated levels in your home, the problem can be cured. The process is called mitigation. There are many reputable DEP certified contractors in the area that provide radon mitigation services. HHI does recommend using a mitigator, that does not perform their own post mitigation testing. We simply feel this is a tremendous conflict of interest. The average cost for a home Radon Mitigation system is approximately $1,200. It is our company's opinion you usually get what you pay for.
You can find out more information about Radon by simply calling in Pennsylvania 1-800-23RADON. This state agency has three guides containing very valuable information about radon. These three guides cover protocols for testing, a citizen guide to protecting yourself and your family from radon and a consumers guide to radon reduction. You can even research this information on the internet at http://www.dep.state.pa.us The threat of radon is real and all home owners and home buyers are encouraged to review the levels of radon in the home they live in or are about to purchase.
Hancock Home Inspections is a DEP certified Tester #1712.