Radon is a natural occurring radioactive gas. You cannot see, smell or taste it. Prolonged exposure to radon can cause lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind cigarette smoking and accounts for about 20,000 deaths per year. The Surgeon General and EPA recommend testing all homes for radon.
The pressure in the soil surrounding your home's foundation is greater than the pressure in your home. The difference in these pressures causes your home to act like a vacuum with what is called “the stack effect”. Any cracks or openings in the foundation will draw radon gasses into your home. A simple test can let you know if your home has high levels. If the test shows 4 or more picocuries of air (4 pCi/L), action should be taken to reduce the level of radon. 1 in 15 homes in America have levels of 4 or higher, with Colorado being higher than that as we are in an area with high levels of radon. Here in Colorado, about 50% of homes have high radon levels.
Comparison of risk of smoking to radon exposure:
4 pCi/L = 8 cigarettes per day
8 pCi/L = 16 cigarettes per day
10 pCi/L = 20 cigarettes per day
15 pCi/L = 30 cigarettes per day
20 pCi/L = 40 cigarettes per day
40 pCi/L = 80 cigarettes per day
The good thing is that if you do have high levels of radon, it is easy to get it to an acceptable level with a radon mitigation system. Don’t guess if you’re one of the millions of homes with a radon problem. Get your home tested today.