This is a question every homeowner and, well, home occupant, should ask themselves. Radon is a naturally-occurring gas that is cancer-causing. Radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, accounting for approximately 20,000 deaths per year. The majority of radon-related deaths are due to breathing in Radon Decay Products, or RDPs, which attach to the lungs as they continue to decay.
Where does radon come from?
Radon comes from uranium, a radioactive metal that has decayed over billions of years and turns into another solid element called radium. Radium is about a million times more radioactive than uranium, making it a very dangerous element. The radium then continues the decay process and turns into a gas, called radon over the next several hundred to a couple of thousand years. Radon seeps through the soil and enters the home through small cracks, holes, or voids in basement slabs, crawl spaces, and slabs on grade. Homes act as a vacuum, sucking these gasses from the soil and up through the main and upper living areas where they are then breathed in.
So.. Do I need to get a test?
Well, it depends on where you live. The Environmental Protection Agency has developed a radon zone map which shows just how prevalent radon is in your area. If you’re in a Zone 1 or Zone 2 area, you should test your residence for radon.
In Colorado, for example, 52 of the 64 counties are Zone 1 (or red zones), indicating a predicted average indoor screening level of over 4.0 pCi/L, the highest potential for radon and most dangerous zone category. The remaining 12 counties are Zone 2 (or orange zones), indicating a predicted average indoor screening level of 2.0 to 4.0 pCi/L. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), 50% of homes in Colorado have radon levels that exceed 4.0 pCi/L. This is compared to the national average of under 7%. The average radon level in Colorado is 6.4 pCi/L, much higher than the national average of 1.3 pCi/L and the EPA’s action level of 4.0 pCi/L. The EPA states that no amount of radon is considered safe, even if it is below 4.0 pCi/L.
The EPA recommends all homes be retested for radon every 2 years, even if a mitigation system is installed or if there were previously low radon levels. If you’re in Northern Colorado, we can test your home’s radon levels. Please visit our scheduling page to get started.