Mark Bonar

Mark Bonar

Mountain State Inspections LLC

Wheeling, WV 26003

Licensed Inspector

Office: (304) 312-2382

Phone or Text: (304) 830-3354

WheelingHomeInspector@gmail.com

Radon Information

Lung Cancer

RADON INFORMATION

Mountain State Inspections LLC, recommends use of the EPA’s or your State (Ohio and WV have there own rules) guides to radon and to provide radon information to customers. Click on the following links to find more information about Radon, Effects of Radon, and ways to eliminate radon at the bottom of this page. The EPA web site listed below has the complete documents and additional information. We test in West Virginia and Ohio.

BASIC RADON FACTS

What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless gas that comes from deposits of uranium in soil, rock, and water.   It is harmlessly dispersed in outdoor air, but can threaten human health when it accumulates in buildings.  Radon is a radioactive decay product of radium, which in turn is a decay product of uranium.  Uranium and radium are naturally occurring common elements in soil.

What are the Health Effects of Radon?

Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that radon causes 22,000 lung cancer deaths in the country each year. Radon can be inhaled into the lungs, where it undergoes radioactive decay. As it decays, radon releases tiny bursts of energy called alpha particles, which can harm sensitive lung tissue by damaging the DNA. This damaged DNA can lead to lung cancer.

Where is Radon Found?

The primary source of high levels of radon in homes is the surrounding soil. Hot spots include basements, first-floor rooms, and garages. Radon has been found in elevated levels in homes in every state, and EPA estimates that as many as one in 15 homes across the U.S. have elevated radon levels. No area of the country is free from risk. In northern WV and eastern OH 40% of the homes and building are elevated!

How Does Radon Get Into My House?

Radon gas enters the same way air and other soil gases enter the home; through cracks in the foundation floor or walls, hollow-block walls, and openings around floor drains, pipes and sump pumps. The process begins when warm air in the home rises. When this happens in your home, it creates a vacuum in the lower areas of the house. Nature hates a vacuum, so something must rush in to fill it. In the case of your home, air seeps in from the soil around and under the house, and some air is sucked in through openings (cracks, doors, windows) on the lower levels.

How is Radon Measured?

Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L), a measurement of radioactivity. The EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that homes with radon levels 4 pCi/L, or greater, be fixed.

How do I Find Out if My House has Elevated Levels of Radon?

Radon test kits that meet EPA guidelines can be obtained from Mountain State Inspections LLC.  Testing your home for radon is as simple as opening a package, placing a radon detector in a designated area, and, after the prescribed number of days, sealing the detector back in the package and mailing it to a lab.  Information about testing your home for radon and how to get a test kit is also available by calling (304) 312-2382

What Does it Cost to Lower Radon Levels?

The cost of making repairs to reduce radon depends on how your home was built and other factors. Most homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs, like painting or having a new hot water heater installed. The average cost for a contractor to lower radon levels in a home is about $1,200.

How Can I Fix My House if it has Elevated Levels of Radon?

A variety of methods can be used to reduce radon in homes. Sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation is a basic part of most approaches to radon reduction. EPA does not recommend the use of sealing and caulking alone to reduce radon because, by itself, sealing has not been shown to lower radon levels significantly or consistently. In most cases, EPA strongly recommends installing pipes and fans to reduce radon. Radon reduction contractors may use other methods that may also work in your home, depending on its design and other factors. Mountain State Inspections LLC, we are your local radon mitigation licensed contractor.

Dispelling Some Common Radon Myths

“I don’t have a basement, so I probably don’t have a radon problem.”

Radon can seep in from soil anywhere around or under a home, regardless of whether your home has a basement, a crawl space, or is built slab-on-grade. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend radon testing for all types of homes.  In multi-level homes testing should be done on a level below the third floor.

“Two of my neighbors have tested their homes for radon and they don’t have high levels, so I probably don’t either.”

Radon levels can vary considerably from house to house, even on the same street. It is nearly impossible to predict the exact nature of geologic soil deposits and the extent to which soil gasses will seep into and be retained by a specific house. The only way to know whether radon exists in elevated levels in your home, and to protect your family from radon, is to test.

“There doesn’t seem to be much proof that radon is a serious health problem.”

Never before have we had such overwhelming scientific consensus that exposure to elevated levels of radon causes lung cancer in humans. In February of 1998, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) presented the findings of their Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) VI Report: “The Health Effects of Exposure to Indoor Radon.” This report by the NAS is the most definitive accumulation of scientific data on indoor radon. The report confirms that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and that it is a serious public health problem. The study fully supports EPA estimates stating that radon causes 22,000 lung cancer deaths per year.

“I don’t have time to test for radon!”

Testing is as simple as opening a package, placing a radon detector in your home in a designated area, and, after the prescribed number of days (typically three days), sealing the detector back in the package and mailing it to a lab. The whole process only takes a few minutes of your time!

From the EPA’s “A Citizen’s Guide to Radon:”

Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas.

You can’t see radon. And you can’t smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home. Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. That’s because when you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.

Radon can be found all over the U.S.

Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon can be found all over the U.S. It can get into any type of building – homes, offices, and schools – and build up to high levels. But you and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure at home. That’s where you spend most of your time.

You should test for radon.

Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. EPA also recommends testing in schools. Testing is inexpensive and easy – it should only take a few minutes of your time. Millions of Americans have already tested their homes for radon.

You can fix a radon problem.

There are simple ways to fix a radon problem that aren’t too costly. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.

From the EPA’s “Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction:”

Reduce Radon Levels In Your Home

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. The Surgeon General and the EPA recommend testing for radon and reducing radon in homes that have high levels. Fix your home if your radon level is confirmed to be 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher. Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases may be reduced. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.

Select A State Certified And/Or RPP Contractor

Choose a radon contractor to fix your home who is state certified and/or listed for radon reduction [mitigation] in EPA’s National Radon Proficiency Program (RPP). RPP-listed mitigation contractors are trained, must pass a comprehensive exam, and must agree to follow standards developed to ensure effective radon reduction. Call your state radon office for a list of qualified contractors in your area. We are certified in WV and OH and have RPP listings. We have the best credentials in the business.

Radon Reduction Techniques Work

Radon reduction systems work. Some radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99%. The cost of fixing a home generally ranges from about $500 to $2500, with the average being in the range of $1200.00. Your costs may vary depending on the size and design of your home and which radon reduction methods are needed. Thousands of people have reduced radon levels in their homes.

Maintain Your Radon Reduction System

Maintaining your radon reduction system takes little effort and keeps the system working properly and radon levels low.

From the EPA’s “Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon”:

Radon Is a Cancer-Causing, Radioactive Gas

You cannot see, smell, or taste radon. But it still may be a problem in your home. When you breathe air containing radon, you increase your risk of getting lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General of the United States has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.

National Academy of Sciences Report on Radon

In February 1998, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released its report on radon and lung cancer, The Health Effects of Exposure to Indoor Radon (the BEIR VI report). The NAS is an independent, non-governmental, scientific organization. The NAS estimates that radon causes between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States and that 12 percent of all lung cancer deaths are linked to radon. The BEIR VI Committee (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) concluded that after smoking, radon is the second leading cause of death due to lung cancer in the United States. You Should Test for Radon. Testing is the only way to find out your home’s radon levels. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.

You Can Fix a Radon Problem

If you find that you have high radon levels, there are ways to fix a radon problem. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.

If You Are Selling a Home …

EPA recommends that you test your home before putting it on the market and, if necessary, lower your radon levels. Save the test results and all information you have about steps that were taken to fix any problems. This could be a positive selling point.

If You Are Buying a Home…

EPA recommends that you know what the indoor radon level is in any home you consider buying. Ask the seller for their radon test results. If the home has a radon-reduction system, ask the seller for information they have about the system. If the home has not yet been tested, you should have the housed tested. If you are having a new home built, there are features that can be incorporated into your home during construction to reduce radon levels. The radon testing guidelines in this Guide have been developed specifically to deal with the time-sensitive nature of home purchases and sales, and the potential for radon device interference. These guidelines are slightly different from the guidelines in other EPA publications which provide radon testing and reduction information for non-real estate situations. This Guide recommends three short-term testing options for real estate transactions. EPA also recommends testing a home in the lowest level which is currently suitable for occupancy, since a buyer may choose to live in a lower area of the home than that used by the seller.

The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST), the radon industry’s professional organization, provides radon information and links.  http://www.aarst.org/

The National Cancer Institute provides a fact sheet on radon and lung cancer as well as links to scientific studies.  http://cis.nci.nih.gov/fact/3_52.htm

The National Safety Council offers numerous helpful fact sheets on radon and radiation. http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/Radon%20Poisoning%20Prevention.aspx

AARST and its American Radon Policy Coalition support this organization to “Provide a Voice to Stop the Nation’s 2nd Leading Cause of Lung Cancer.” The site offers information and first-person experiences. http://www.cansar.org/

The American Lung Association’s website provides information, fact sheets, and links relevant to radon and radon-induced lung cancer. Enter the site, then type “radon” in the Search option.  http://www.lungusa.org/

Radon information and publications from the U.S. EPA  http://www.epa.gov/radon/index.html