Spotlight: All About Radon
It seems as if there are constant alerts warning us of yet another health hazard. Is radon really a risk to your family's health? Should elevated radon levels be reduced to protect your family and your investment? According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and a number of scientific studies, the answer to both questions is yes. For more details on radon, see Radon Information.
Why test for radon?
Protect your potential sale. By obtaining advance knowledge of your
home's radon levels, you avoid surprises. You can rest easy if radon is below the
USEPA's recommended action level (below 4.0 picocuries per liter). You can choose to
take action if the radon is above the USEPA action level, thereby eliminating radon
as an issue during the sale of your home.
Protect your family. Elevated levels of radon in a home have been determined to be a major health hazard. However, radon can easily be treated by a qualified radon professional with proper radon insurance coverage and transferable guarantees.
Protect your investment. For most of us, our homes are our biggest investments. Just as maintenance and improvements protect the value of our home, so does the elimination of radon. Replacing an old, leaky roof adds value to your home. Putting in a radon reduction system, installed and guaranteed by MassRadon, also adds value. In fact, many builders have found that it makes sense to have a radon system installed during construction.
If you have already tested for radon and the level is above 4.0 picocuries per liter and/or your waterborne radon level is above 4,000 pCi/L, contact us to schedule a free evaluation and cost proposal of a Radon Mitigation System.
Mass Radon Technologies installs Active Soil Depressurization
systems, which are the only systems approved by the USEPA for radon reduction.
System locations used to reduce radon vary depending on the construction of the home.
This technique prevents radon from entering your home.
For example, soil suction prevents radon from entering your home by drawing radon from below the house and venting it through a pipe to the air above the house where it is quickly diluted.
Mitigation to an existing home usually costs between between $900 and $1400, with an average of about $1,200.
For more information on mitigation techniques used, consult EPA's Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction
Most radon systems are installed in under 4 hours with a minimum of disruption and are operational the same day.
What is the Average Level of Radon Found in a Home?
Based on a national residential radon survey completed in 1991, the
average indoor radon level is 1.3 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) in the United States.
The average outdoor level is about 0.4 pCi/L.
In Western Massachusetts radon levels have been found to be in the 80s pCi/L in some homes, most of the homes that we are called on run between 5 and 15 pCi/L before mitigation.
What's the Debate on Radon?
There is no debate about radon being a lung carcinogen in humans. All major national
and international organizations that have examined the health risks of radon agree
that it is a lung carcinogen. The scientific community continues to conduct research
to refine our understanding of the precise number of deaths attributable to radon.
The National Academy of Sciences BEIR VI Report has estimated that radon causes
about 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths annually based on their two-preferred
A few scientists have questioned whether low radon levels, such as those found in residences, increase the risk of lung cancer because some small studies of radon and lung cancer in residences have produced varied results. Some have shown a relationship between radon and lung cancer, some have not. However, the national and international scientific communities are in agreement that all of these residential studies have been too small to provide conclusive information about radon health risks. Major scientific organizations continue to believe that approximately 12% of lung cancers annually in the United States are attributable to radon.
How do we know radon is a carcinogen?
The World Health Organization (WHO), the National Academy of
Sciences, the US Department of Health and Human Services, as well as EPA, have
classified radon as a known human carcinogen, because of the wealth of biological
and epidemiological evidence and data showing the connection between exposure to
radon and lung cancer in humans.
There have been many studies conducted by many different organizations in many nations around the world to examine the relationship of radon exposure and human lung cancer. The largest and most recent of these was an international study, led by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which examined the data on 68,000 underground miners who were exposed to a wide range of radon levels. The studies of miners are very useful because the subjects are humans, not rats, as in many cancer research studies. These miners are dying of lung cancer at 5 times the rate expected for the general population. Over many years scientists around the world have conducted exhaustive research to verify the cause-effect relationship between radon exposure and the observed increased lung cancer deaths in these miners and to eliminate other possible causes.
In addition, there is an overlap between radon exposures received by miners who got lung cancer and the exposures people would receive over their lifetime in a home at EPA's action level of 4 pCi/L, i.e., there are no large extrapolations involved in estimating radon risks in homes.