What is radon?

According the EPA ,Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas.  It is a gas that decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. As they break down further, these particles release small  bursts of energy. This can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime.

Radon Particle

How does radon enter your home?

Radon breaks down into a gas from Uranium which is found in almost all soils. The gas is able to travel through the soil and into your home through cracks in the foundation, expansion joints or gaps in the foundation, gaps or voids in the subfloor, contaminated water, and even granite counter tops.  The radon gets trapped in the house and many factors can determine its concentration levels.

Radon Entry Points

 

What is the risk in living with radon?

Radon causes 20,000 lung cancer deaths a year. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. It is second only to smoking.  If you smoke, or are exposed to second hand smoke, and you are exposed to radon, your chances to get lung cancer are significantly increased. The EPA as provided these charts to represent the risks associated with radon exposure.

Radon Risk If You Smoke

Radon Level

If 1,000 people who smoked were exposed to this level over a lifetime*…

The risk of cancer from radon exposure compares to**…

WHAT TO DO: Stop smoking and…

20 pCi/L About 260 people could get lung cancer 250 times the risk of drowning Fix your home
10 pCi/L About 150 people could get lung cancer 200 times the risk of dying in a home fire Fix your home
8 pCi/L About 120 people could get lung cancer 30 times the risk of dying in a fall Fix your home
4 pCi/L About 62 people could get lung cancer 5 times the risk of dying in a car crash Fix your home
2 pCi/L About 32 people could get lung cancer 6 times the risk of dying from poison Consider fixing between 2 and 4 pCi/L
1.3 pCi/L About 20 people could get lung cancer (Average indoor radon level) (Reducing radon levels below 2 pCi/L is difficult.)
0.4 pCi/L About 3 people could get lung cancer (Average outdoor radon level)
Note: If you are a former smoker, your risk may be lower. * Lifetime risk of lung cancer deaths from EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003). ** Comparison data calculated using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 1999-2001 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Reports.

Radon Risk If You’ve Never Smoked

Radon Level

If 1,000 people who never smoked were exposed to this level over a lifetime*…

The risk of cancer from radon exposure compares to**…

WHAT TO DO:

20 pCi/L About 36 people could get lung cancer 35 times the risk of drowning Fix your home
10 pCi/L About 18 people could get lung cancer 20 times the risk of dying in a home fire Fix your home
8 pCi/L About 15 people could get lung cancer 4 times the risk of dying in a fall Fix your home
4 pCi/L About 7 people could get lung cancer The risk of dying in a car crash Fix your home
2 pCi/L About 4 person could get lung cancer The risk of dying from poison Consider fixing between 2 and 4 pCi/L
1.3 pCi/L About 2 people could get lung cancer (Average indoor radon level) (Reducing radon levels below 2 pCi/L is difficult.)
0.4 pCi/L (Average outdoor radon level)
Note: If you are a former smoker, your risk may be higher. * Lifetime risk of lung cancer deaths from EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003). ** Comparison data calculated using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 1999-2001 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Reports.

What about radon in Richmond?

Here is a chart of average radon test results in and around Richmond.  The EPA considers Richmond, Henrico, New Kent, Charles and Prince George as low potential zones but they recommend radon testing regardless of zones. Goochland, Powhatan, Chesterfield, Hopewell and Petersburg are in Zone 3, which is the high potential zone. Average test results in this zone are above 4 pCi/L which should be mitigated for health reasons. We recommend testing your home regardless of location.

Radon in Richmond Virginia
Radon in Richmond Virginia

What now?

Radon does not have to be scary. Give us a call and let us test your home for radon. We test for radon in Richmond, Henrico, New Kent, Charles, Goochland, Powhatan, Chesterfield, Hopewell and Petersburg.  If the tests are above 4 pCi/L, we will perform another test.  Two tests above 4 pCi/L and the EPA recommends having a radon mitigation system installed in your home. Here is a standard radon mitigation system

Radon mitigation
Radon mitigation