The health-risks posed by high levels of radon decay in the home were brought to light in the late 1970s, but since it is a naturally-occuring process rather than a commercial product, there haven’t been as many headlines about the testing and mitigation of radon. In fact, folks often haven’t even heard about radon until they’re in the process of buying a home.
That’s because the point of sale of a home is the most efficient way to get folks to test for and mitigate high levels of radon.
The Minnesota Department of Health strongly urges all homeowners to have their radon levels tested every two to three years, since developing cracks in the foundation can cause new entry points for radon, and to ensure that any existing radon mitigation systems are still working properly.
What Is Radon?
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas. When radon gas is inhaled, the radioactive particles remain in the lungs. As radon gas decays further, it releases additional radioactive particles that can adhere to dust, which is also easily inhaled. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer (after tobacco) in smokers.
Radon is a naturally occurring byproduct of the decay of thorium and uranium. Radon is found in high concentrations in igneous rocks, such as granite. This is why Minnesota, situated on the granite-rich Canadian Shield, has higher levels of radon.
Why Is Radon a Health Risk?
There are approximately 21,000 deaths per year in the US due to radon-induced lung cancers.
The Environmental Protection Agency has equated radon exposure to smoking, making it easier for people to understand what their radon exposure is doing to their lungs. According to the EPA, exposure to 1 pCi/L of radon is equivalent to smoking 2.5 cigarettes a day.
How Do I Test For Radon?
The state of Minnesota strongly recommends that any testing done for the purpose of a real estate transaction be conducted by a licensed radon measurement professional, using continuous monitoring equipment approved by the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP).
Both Christopher & Adam are licensed by the State of Minnesota for Radon Measurement!
The other method is a passive test which uses a filtered packet containing charcoal to passively collect the byproduct of decaying radon over the course of 3-5 days. Those packets are then mailed to a lab, with results returned by mail or fax.
How Do I Get Rid Of Radon?
Typically, a radon mitigation system involves inserting a pipe into the foundation of your home and exhausting it outdoors 12″ above the roofline. A fan can help create the vacuum to draw the radon from the soil. Once mitigated, the radon concentration is no longer at dangerous levels.
In general, radon mitigation system costs can range from approximately $800-$2500, with the average reduction system costing approximately $1500.
The State of Minnesota offers a listing of licensed radon mitigators.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the Surgeon General’s Office have estimated that as many as 21,000 lung cancer deaths are caused each year by radon.
Sample Radon Report
The sample report below is interactive, so go ahead and click through to get a feel for how easy it is to read our reports.