Radon – Questions and Answers

Many people today have unanswered questions in regards to radon and the potential health risks associated with exposure to radon gas. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers to those questions.

Q: What exactly is Radon?

A: Radon gas is a decay product of Uranium. You can't smell it, taste it, or see it, yet it is a radioactive gas.

Q: Where does radon gas come from and is it harmful?

A: Radon gas typically moves up through the ground and enters 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.

Q: Is it likely I have radon in my home and what level of radon is dangerous?

A: The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. has elevated radon levels. These levels are generally higher in Pennsylvania. In our 17 yrs of radon testing in the greater Central PA area we have found about 40% of the homes we test have elevated levels of radon. The unit measurement for radon is 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.

Q: How do I test my home for radon?

A: You can test your home for radon yourself, using an array of devices that can be purchased in many hardware and department stores. The best and most accurate way, however, is to utilize the services of a home inspector who is EPA/DEP certified. This is also a requirement if testing is done as part of a real estate transaction. The HHI cost for testing services is $130 in the greater Lock haven Area. Slightly higher when extra travel is involved.

Q: If I find I have elevated levels in my home, can the problem be cured?

A: Yes. The process is called mitigation. There are many reputable contractors in the area that provide radon mitigation services. These contractors also should be EPA/DEP certified. The average cost for these services is approximately $1,200 – $2000.00, depending on many factors of the house.

Q: Where can I find out more information about Radon?

A: In Pennsylvania you can call 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 consumer's guide to radon reduction. You can also research this information on the Internet at http://www.dep.state.pa.us