Radon

What is Radon, and Why Worry?

Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas.  It’s colorless and odorless and could be present in your home.  The EPA estimates that radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year.  About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked.  It is the second leading cause of lung cancer overall and the LEADING cause in non-smokers.

Radon can be found all over the U.S.

Radon comes from the natural radioactive breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water.  Radon can enter homes through cracks, drain tiles, sump pits, and other openings in basement floors and walls.  Since radon is a radioactive element, it is measured in picocuries of radiation per liter of air (pCi/L).  The EPA has set the health standard for radon at 4.0 pCi/L. 

Why You Should Test for Radon.

Since radon is a radioactive element, it is measured in picocuries of radiation per liter of air (pCi/L).  The EPA has set the health standard for radon at 4.0 pCi/L.  Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are being exposed to radon.  The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing for radon in the Lowest Living Level, where your family spends most of their time.  It is not necessarily the basement.  Test should be conducted in a basement only if the basement has already been converted into a living space (bedroom, family room, or den).

There are two different types of test kits available to test for radon.

  • The short-term test kit is left in the home for a period of 2-7 days (depending on the recommendations from the manufacturer). The results of this test provide the homeowner with an idea of the potential for a problem in the home. The ideal time for testing is during the fall and winter heating season, when the home is closed up.
  • The long term test kit is left in the home for a period of up to one year (depending on the recommendations from the manufacturer). The results of this test provide the homeowner with the annual average exposure of radon. It is strongly suggested that the long term test never be used unless a short term test kit has been done first.

Testing is inexpensive and easy.  Millions of Americans have already tested their homes for radon.  Test kits are available for $10.00 at the Winnebago County Health Department (Oshkosh and Neenah offices) from 8:00am-4:00pm.  Call 920-232-3000 for more information.

What do the results mean?

Find your test results at Alpha Energy/Dr Home Air

PicoCuries/liter of air (pCi/L)Recommendations to Protect Your Family’s Health
4.0 pCi/L or lessNo action required
4.1 to 8.0 pCi/LConduct a long-term test to measure average radon level.
8.1 pCi/L or higherConsult with a professional, and consider installation of a radon-reduction system.

  

Alpha Energy Test Kit Sold at Winnebago County Health Dept

If You Have Radon Problem, You Can Fix It.

If you discover that you do have a radon problem, there are simple and cost effective ways to take care of it.  Even very high levels of radon can be reduced to acceptable levels.

Fixing Radon

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