Radon In Your Home

**Check out a podcast of an interview Ben did on this topic on West Michigan’s Morning News with Gary Allen & Steve Kelly at 8:07 on 1/19/2011  Podcast Link

Here is the basics you need to know about Radon.

Content is taken directly from the EPA: http://www.epa.gov/radon/aboutus.html

Why should I be concerned?  EPA estimates that about 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon-related. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

What is it?  Radon is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water. Radon is a proven carcinogen. Lung cancer is the only known effect on human health from exposure to radon in air. Thus far, there is no evidence that children are at greater risk of lung cancer than are adults.

Where is it? Radon in air is ubiquitous. Radon is found in outdoor air and in the indoor air of buildings of all kinds. EPA recommends homes be fixed if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or more. Because there is no known safe level of exposure to radon, EPA also recommends that Americans consider fixing their home for radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L.

How does EPA estimate 20,000 deaths? The average radon concentration in the indoor air of America’s homes is about 1.3 pCi/L. It is upon this level that EPA based its estimate of 20,000 radon-related lung cancers a year upon. It is for this simple reason that EPA recommends that Americans consider fixing their homes when the radon level is between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. The average concentration of radon in outdoor air is .4 pCi/L or 1/10th of EPA’s 4 pCi/L action level.

Ben’s Commentary:  Our homes have an imbalance of temperature, moisture, chemicals, and carcinogens.  Our homes are under-ventilated.  Homes need to manage energy and manage indoor air quality.

Next Steps:

  1. If you purchased your home in the last few years just check your closing documents to see if your home was tested for radon as part of the transaction.
  2. Get a radon test for $6.95 online – http://www.radon.com/sub/mi/
  3. Visit: http://www.epa.gov/radon/index.html for more info.
  4. If your home does have a radon problem – install an active radon mitigation system – pulls radon & gases from the soil from under your concrete slab of your basement through a pipe so it never comes into your indoor environment, and blows it out above the roof.  Make sure the mitigation system is not installed in a silly spot.
  5. Get freaked out about your indoor air quality and install some better filtration and an ERV – energy recovery ventilator.  We spend a lot of money the finishes of our homes but resist spending money to make our homes healthier.

**Check out a podcast of an interview Ben did on this topic on West Michigan’s Morning News with Gary Allen & Steve Kelly at 8:07 on 1/19/2011  Podcast Link