Radon is a problem a lot of Philadelphians think they don’t have to worry about. Unfortunately that is not true. Radon can be a problem and I can only recommend that buyers get their prospective home radon tested as part of their inspections. Buyers and sellers need to know what radon is and how it can affect their lives. Here is some info that is important to know:
UNITS / TERMS:
- Picocuries per liter (pCi/L) – Radon is measured in Picocuries per liter. One curie (named for Marie Curie, the person who discovered metallic radium) is the amount of radiation given off by one gram of radium. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends radon mitigation for levels of 4 pCi/L or higher. Remember, there is a difference between a recommendation and a standard. A recommendation is the suggestion or endorsement of something, or a favorable reference about somebody or something. A standard is a requirement established by law.
- Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon gets in the air we breathe. You cannot see, smell, or taste radon.
- Radon from soil is the main cause of radon problems in homes and buildings. Typically, radon gas moves up through the ground into a building through cracks and holes in the foundation, and the building traps radon gas.
- Radon can also be found in well water and in a small number of cases, building materials can emit radon gas.
- Pressure differences between soil, buildings, and the atmosphere dictate the flow of radon gas from higher pressures to lower pressures.
- Radon levels are unpredictable and vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, from block to block, from home to home, and even within an individual home. Radon levels in a home can vary during different times of the year, and even different times of the same day.
The EPA recommends the following:
- If you are buying or selling a home, have it tested for radon.
- For a new home, ask if radon-resistant construction features were used and if the home has been tested.
- Fix the home if the radon level is 4 Picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher.
- Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases, may be reduced.
For more information on radon in your area or state by state radon maps visit the EPA website. Or call us and we can recommend a couple of certified radon experts for you to call to come out and test your home.
Be Safe—Get Tested!