Radon in Your Child’s School and What to Do About It

Radon in Your Child’s School and What to Do About It

Radon, a Class A carcinogen derived from the natural breakdown of uranium in rock and soil, becomes a danger to one’s health when it builds up in homes, buildings, schools and is breathed in over extended periods of time. Children, educators and support staff are typically in schools from 7am or earlier through to the evening. Many children are enrolled into an aftercare program and can be in an affected school for 10-12 hours per day.

The EPA has set guidelines for managing radon in schools with the hopes ALL schools will be tested, fixed if necessary and on a schedule for future testings to ensure your child is safe in their learning environment. The question arises as to what if the school administrators are hesitant or closed minded to testing for this insidious health threat?

Radon awareness is everything because there are so many people who do not know about the dangers of long term exposure to elevated levels of radon. Approximately 21,000 deaths per year in the United States is attributed to lung cancer from radon exposure.

Talk to your neighbors, talk to the officials in your child’s school, talk to your mayor, to your school’s staff and educators. Bring in a certified radon professional to offer information and discuss the hazards associated with radon. They can review the proper procedure for testing, the time frame involved and how to correct the situation if radon levels are elevated.

The only way to know if radon is an issue in your child’s school is to test and the procedure is a simple one. Be proactive! If your child’s school hasn’t been tested yet, now is the time. Motivate, organize and get it done!

Test Your Home, School or Workplace…Protect Your Family!

Radon KILLS…Have You Tested Your Home Yet?

Radon KILLS…Have You Tested Your Home Yet?

Radon, a Class A carcinogen and radioactive gas derived from the natural breakdown of uranium in rock and soil has been proven to cause lung cancer plus there is concern for other organs in the human body to be effected as well. Radon KILLS one person every 25 minutes.

Have You Tested Your Home Yet? A simple test can determine if you are living with elevated radon levels and any home can be fixed to reduce radon concentrations to a safe level.

Test Your Home TODAY…Protect Your Family!

Where Does Radon Come From?

Where Does Radon Come From?

Radon, the natural breakdown of uranium in rock and soil, is a radioactive Class A carcinogen proven to cause lung cancer as a result of it’s decay products. When radon breaks down or decays, they emit alpha particles. In addition, radon has a relatively short half life of 3.8 days. Radon gas can move through the soil quickly and hence into one’s home and breathing space. Radon is inert however it is when radon breaks down into radon decay products that presents the greatest human health risk. If radon concentrations are elevated in a home, the amount of radon inhaled is also elevated. If radon is not exhaled before the 3.8 day half life expires, radon will start the decay process in the lungs releasing it’s radioactivity.

Test Your Home…Protect Your family!

 

This image shows the complete decay chain of U-238.

 

Source: US EPA/US Geological Survey

Radon Testing and Quality Control

Radon Testing and Quality Control

Radon, a Class A carcinogen, has been proven to cause lung cancer when exposed to elevated levels over a prolonged period of time.  The only way to know if levels are elevated is to test using an EPA approved test device. The devices used for a short term test is typically some type of passive charcoal canister or active Continuous Radon Monitor. How do you know if the devices used to test for radon are accurate?

Professional radon measurement providers are required to have a QAP (quality assurance plan) in place to monitor accuracy. This includes use of Continuous Radon Monitor (CRM) accuracy and charcoal canisters. . This Quality Control cross check should be done after every 10 radon tests are performed. The cross check can be done with 2 CRM’s or it can be done with one CRM and a passive charcoal canister.

Since the lab performs the analysis for charcoal canisters, the lab will have their own quality control process for checking batches of canisters prior to release for use. A professional can also cross check a batch of canisters with a CRM.

Professional radon measurement providers are required to have their CRM’s calibrated annually. Pros also go through a recertification process every two years by sending their CRM to a radioactive chamber followed by analyzing the results. Pros also have continuing education requirements to meet updated standards.

Testing your home for radon gas can be done by a professional or by purchasing an approved EPA home kit. Make sure to follow all directions carefully when testing on your own and check the test kits expiration date. If any questions arise, reach out to a pro…your health and your family’s health depends on it.

Test Your Home…Protect Your Family!

Radon, Real Estate and The Reality Of It All

Radon, Real Estate and The Reality Of It All

Radon, a Class A carcinogen is a danger when the concentrations build to dangerous levels in a home.  Coupled with long term radon exposure and a serious health risk exists.

Radon is an issue whether a home is in the process of being purchased or if purchased years ago. Living in any home with elevated radon levels is a health hazard. The EPA recommends testing your home every 2+/- years. Homes go through settling over the years and new cracks and fissures in the foundation can occur allowing additional avenues for radon to enter the home. These factors contribute to changes in your radon levels.

The only way to know if your radon levels are elevated is to test. EPA action level is 4.0pCi/L yet there is significant concern when levels are between 2.0pCi/L and 4.0pCi/L. The World Health Organization recommends “fixing” your home if radon levels are 2.7pCi/L. If you test and your radon levels come back within the 2.0pCi/L – 4.0pCi/L, it is highly recommended you consider installing a radon mitigation system. Small money for peace of mind and elimination of this cancer causing threat.

Test Your Home…Protect Your Family!

Radon…I’ve Never Tested

Radon…I’ve Never Tested!

OK, so you’ve never tested for radioactive radon gas in your home. With the increase of awareness, you want to and are concerned about the possible past exposure. We can’t go back in time even though it would be nice sometimes but we can be proactive going forward and that should be the mindset taken.

Radon gas is a Class A carcinogen that lurks in homes because it becomes trapped. Breathing radon decay products over a prolonged period of time can cause lung cancer and research is proving other organs can be affected as well.

The only way to know if you have a radon issue in your home is to test. There are multiple ways to test for radon gas and using a professional is highly recommended.  A homeowner with proper guidance following proper protocol can effectively test their home as well with an EPA approved test kit.

Most home testing is done on a short term basis lasting 2-7 days with either an electronic method or a passive method. The electronic method, which is performed by a professional radon measurement provider using a CRM or Continuous Radon Monitor is tamper proof, provides an hour by hour concentration reading and offers the most comprehensive report for short term testing. There are different types of short term passive testing with the most common being a 2-7 day test using Charcoal Liquid Scintillation or Activated Charcoal Adsorption which once the testing period is completed, is sent to a lab which reads the level of radioactivity for an overall average concentration. There are radon tests available which can be exposed for 1-12 months when long term testing is required.

There are some states in which it is required for radon testing to be done for real estate transactions and rentals yet many states who do not require it. If your state does not have any requirements, you MUST be proactive to test for this insidious gas for your own family and  home.

Test Your Home TODAY…Protect Your Family!

Radon and Sellers

Radon and Sellers

Thinking of selling your home and moving on? There are many ways to present your home to the public for sale and it is a decision that should be made early on. Many buyers want a turn key property with each and every aspect of the home’s condition being near perfect. Then there are buyers who want the home that needs everything to add their own style and personal touch.

What about the hidden aspects not visible to the naked eye? Radon gas is the first that comes to mind because it is invisible, odorless, colorless, tasteless and radioactive. This insidious cancer causing threat to human life lurks in homes. The only way to know if a home has elevated radon levels is to test.

Sellers may choose to sell their home in an “as is” condition or they may be proactive correcting certain issues the home may have. This may include testing for radon and “fixing” the home if levels are at a dangerous level. EPA action level is 4.0pCi/L yet there is significant concern when levels are between 2.0 and 4.0pCi/L. If a buyer has an accepted offer on a home and the radon levels come back at 3.9pCi/L,  the buyer can request the seller to “fix” the home prior to closing however the seller can easily say no, it is not at EPA action level of 4.0pCi/L.

Should you buy the house? The process of installing a radon mitigation system with a professional mitigator is a straightforward one. Only the buyer will be able to decide if they want to buy the house with elevated radon levels. If the buyer installs the radon mitigation system post closing,  they can maintain full control of who performs the installation and retest. That being said, the buyer will also absorb the cost. A radon mitigation system is the one of most inexpensive home maintenance costs for the maximum benefits that can be done.

If a buyer wants the seller to install a radon mitigation system with levels above 4.0pCi/L, this can be a point of negotiation in the real estate transaction. It is highly recommended for sellers to have a pre-sale radon test and fix the home prior to marketing.

Test Your Home…Protect Your Family!

The Why and How of Radon Exposure

The Why and How of Radon Exposure

Radon is the natural breakdown and decay of Uranium, Radium and Thorium in rock and soil; Radon is a radioactive gas. This is in our gardens soil, under and surrounding our homes, buildings, hospitals and schools. Radon is also in the air we breathe be it outside or inside. Outside, radon concentrations are very low and diluted. Inside, radon concentrations can build up to much higher dangerous levels because it has no exit unless windows and doors are open. When radon levels build up indoors to high concentrations, the potential risk for lung cancer is also higher. Long term exposure to elevated levels of radon gas has been proven to cause lung cancer and there is concern other organs in the body may be affected  as well.

Radon enters a home or building through cracks, fissures, sump pump openings, foundations and anywhere a gas can find it’s way in. Homes that are tightly sealed or heavily insulated can have higher indoor radon concentrations. New construction homes that are tightly sealed is an example. Properties built with surrounding soil that is rich in Uranium, Radium and Thorium may have higher radon concentrations indoors.

The only way to know if you have elevated radon concentrations is to test the property with an approved EPA method. Speak to a radon professional today to identify if your home is at risk.

Test Your Home…Protect Your Family!

When NOT to Test for Radon…and Why!

When NOT to Test for Radon…and Why!

Testing for radioactive radon gas is imperative to identify if your living, work or school space is safe without the fear of being exposure to a known carcinogen. That being said, there are times when it is NOT recommended to test and those times are:

  • Heavy rains: Heavy rains saturating the soil caps the soil preventing radon from escaping the ground and the path of least resistance is into a building.
  • Heavy wind: Heavy wind is frequently associated with storms which can affect the pressure in and around a building. A positive pressure is exerted on the windward side causing an overall negative pressure on a building.
  • Heavy snow: Heavy snow also caps the soil causing an extended negative pressure field making the conditions easier for radon to be sucked into a building. Radon levels are typically higher in heating seasons. Testing can be done in the winter yet contraindicated during heavy snow storms.
  • Do not test if proper closed house conditions of 12 hours has not been met prior to deployment.

In addition, prior to testing for a valid test, make sure:

  • ALL windows are closed
  • Fireplace flues are closed
  • Garage doors are closed
  • Stove exhaust fans venting to the outside are off
  • Whole house fans are off
  • Bathroom fans are off
  • Dehumidifiers are off
  • Sump pumps are covered properly
  • Dog or cat doors are sealed for the duration of the test
  • If HRV or ERV’s are regularly used, keep them on during the test. Do not turn them on for the purpose of the test if they are not actively used on a daily basis.

Test Your Home…Protect Your Family!

My Radon Levels are Elevated…Now What!

My Radon Levels are Elevated…Now What!

The first thing to do is Do Not Panic!  You cannot go back in time to correct your exposure to elevated radon levels in your home but you can fix the problem going forward.

To fix your home, hire a professional radon mitigator to install a sub-slab depressurization system to remove the excess radon in your home. Re-test using the services of a professional radon measurement provider also know as a radon tester to make sure the levels are reduced to a safe level.

To find qualified and certified professionals who are in the radon industry working to save lives from elevated radioactive radon gas exposure, look to  the National Radon Proficiency Program – American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists  NRPP-AARST .

Test Your Home…Protect Your Family!