Written By Landon Balding, Sound Inspections
Sound Inspections performs a short term radon test using a RadonEyePro Professional Continuous Radon Monitor on every certified home inspection.
The word radon can be a scary term to some people when it comes up in a real estate transaction. You google it and the first thing you learn is that radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. But as scary as that might sound, you can easily protect yourself and your loved ones from radon exposure. All you really need to know is whether or not there is an elevated presence of radon in the home, so you can plan for the mitigation of radon if necessary.
Most home inspectors offer radon testing as an ancillary service. At Sound Inspections, a short term radon test using a calibrated continuous radon monitor is performed with every certified home inspection. The reason is simple. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) all of Colorado is in Zone 1, which is designated as the highest-priority radon zone. The EPA recommends that every person buying or selling a home, should have it tested for radon. In fact, data collected by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) indicates that approximately 50% of homes in Colorado have radon levels higher than the EPA’s recommended action level of 4 pico curies per liter of air (pCi/L).
During a short term radon test, we’ll be able to determine whether or not the presence of radon exists in the home. If we find that radon is present, we can help you establish longer term continuous monitoring. If during that process, we find that the radon levels are higher than the EPA’s recommended action level of 4 pCi/L, we’ll recommend that you consult with a radon mitigation specialist to remove the radon from the home. From our research radon mitigation usually costs somewhere between $500 and $1500 with a national average of $974. Hopefully a simple solution that shouldn’t scare you away from your dream home!
So what is radon and why would you want to know if the levels are higher than the EPA’s recommended action level in a home you are buying or selling? Radon is an extremely toxic, inert, colorless, tasteless and odorless gas which forms naturally from the radioactive decay of uranium, thorium, or radium (radioactive metals) in rocks, soil, and groundwater. Radon gases that enter in through cracks and gaps in buildings and homes can lead to serious health risks to people with prolonged exposure.
According to the EPA, exposure to radon can lead to lung cancer in non-smokers and smokers alike. Lung cancer kills thousands of Americans every year. Smoking is the the number one cause of lung cancer causing an estimated 160,000 cancer deaths in the U.S. every year (American Cancer Society, 2014). According to EPA estimates, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year. The third leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. is secondhand smoke, which is responsible for an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths every year. If you are a smoker who is also exposed to higher levels of radon, your risk of lung cancer is increased even more!
Again, even though the thought of radon being present in a home may be scary, it shouldn’t scare you away from buying or selling a home. The mitigation of radon is fairly inexpensive and Colorado even has a low-income radon mitigation assistance program. What’s important is to not allow the presence of radon to go undetected if it is in fact present.