Radon

Overview

Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. You can’t see radon, you can’t smell it or taste it, but it may be a problem in your home. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths each year.

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Radon logo

Radon is estimated to cause over 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year. When you breathe air containing radon, you increase the risk of contracting lung cancer. Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona says: “Indoor radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country. It’s important to know that this threat is completely preventable. Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques.” (See http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/pressreleases/sg01132005.html)

Radon can be found all over the U.S. It is found to be dangerously high in about 17% of homes tested in Missouri, and about 20% of homes tested in the Columbia and immediate surrounding areas.

Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon can be found all over the U.S. It can get into any type of building – homes, offices, and schools – and result in a high indoor radon level. But you and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure at home, where you spend most of your time.

The EPA recommends that all homes be tested for the presence of Radon gas. Other organizations that state radon is a health threat are:

American Medical Association
American Lung Association
US Surgeon General
Centers for Disease Control
National Cancer Institute
National Academy of Sciences

You should test for radon, and we can help you do so. Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from high levels. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. Millions of Americans have already tested their homes for radon. There are even more recent studies that have discovered the presence of very high levels of radon in patients with Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease. (See http://www.radonnews.org/pages/AlzeheimersParkinsons.html)

You can fix a radon problem!

Radon reduction systems work and they are not too costly. Some radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99%. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels. In addition, Radon reduction systems tend to reduce high humidity levels if present in basements that may otherwise contribute to a “musty” smell.

The Test

We test homes using a continuous radon monitor (One that samples the air every hour for 48 hours, and averages the results.) This is the method most often used in real estate transactions, due to the fact that it is quick enough to accommodate your inspection deadline, and very reliable. These monitors are tamper resistant, monitoring temperature, barometric pressure, relative humidity and movement. If a seller accidentally or purposefully tries to falsely reduce radon levels by opening doors and windows during the test, our monitors will detect it, and a retest will be performed at their expense. Since we explain this to them prior to the test, and post reminder flags during the test, we rarely need to perform a retest.

Of course you can test your home at any time after you buy, but prior to closing may be your only opportunity to include the mitigation (if needed) into the negotiations of the contract. When you sell your home, you may have to fix it for the next owners. Above all, you would know that your home is as radon healthy as it can be for as long as you and your family live in it.

Order your radon test as part of your general home inspection. Your health and the health of your family is too important not to.

We know the direct association between radon and lung cancer. But to the people at risk, it’s a totally unperceivable problem because you can’t feel it; you don’t smell it and you don’t see it. Lung cancer kills more Americans each year (160,000) than breast, prostate and colorectal cancers combined. The EPA estimates 21,000 of them are the result of radon-induced lung cancer. That’s nearly 60 per day!” – Dr. Rodney Landrenau, MD, Thoracic Surgeon, Director of the Comprehensive Lung Center, University of Pittsburg Medical Center

“Never underestimate the importance of prevention in all aspects of your life. If you’re a lung cancer victim aware of all the ways it is impacting you and your family – you’d be kicking yourself if you knew something as simple as a radon detection device would have allowed you to prevent this from occurring.” – Dr. Michael Dick, MD, Director of Internal Medicine, Decatur Adult Medicine