The Surgeon General has warned that indoor radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today causing over 21,000 deaths annually. According to the Surgeon General, however, the risk is completely preventable as radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques.
Radon comes from the natural radioactive decay of uranium in soil, rock, and water. It is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that moves through the ground to the air above. It causes no immediate health symptoms. It enters buildings from cracks in solid floors or walls, construction joints, gaps in suspended floors, as well as around service pipes, cavities inside walls, and the water supply.
Radon is measured in a unit of measure called a picocurie per liter of air. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), average outdoor radon levels in the US are .4 picocuries per liter of air. The average radon level inside of homes in the US is 1.3 picocuries per liter of air. While no amount of exposure to radon is safe, the EPA has determined that 4 picocuries per liter of air is the threshold where mitigation should be performed to reduce the amount of radon in the home. According to EPA estimates, one in every 15 homes nationwide has a high radon level at or above the recommended radon action level.
The EPA Map of Radon Zones (see resource below) was prepared by the EPA and classifies each county in the United States as Zone 1 (Highest Potential), Zone 2 (Moderate Potential) or Zone 3 (Lowest Potential). Northern Virginia counties are classified as predominantly Zone 1 and Zone 2 and testing for radon is highly recommended.
The radon test is quick, efficient and inexpensive and can provide important information about the levels of radon in your home. It is recommended that you test for radon before purchasing or moving into a new home. It is also recommended that you test your existing home for radon every two years and any time you make structural changes to your home or occupy a previously unused level of your home.
If you have a radon level in your home of 4 pCi/L or more, take steps to correct the problem as soon as possible. According to the EPA, elevated radon level can be reduced to acceptable levels in 99% of homes using simple and affordable venting techniques.
Checkmark’s expertise can provide you valuable information about the radon levels in your home. Contact us for more information.
Checkmark Home Inspection Services strives to provide the most thorough and comprehensive home inspection in the marketplace. Our inspections are informative and educational and are complete with maintenance tips and suggestions that lead to many years of enjoyment in your home. If you are buying, selling, building a home or simply need a home checkup or radon test, give us a call. Our home inspectors will perform a quality evaluation at an affordable price. Checkmark is a proud member in good standing of ASHI and InterNACHI. Checkout our Radon Testing Services for more information.
If you are buying, selling, building a home or simply need a home checkup, contact Checkmark for all your home inspection services.