Q. What is radon?
A. Radon is a radioactive element that is part of the radioactive decay chain of naturally-occurring uranium in the soil. Radon is a colorless, odorless, naturally occurring, invisible, tasteless, inert radioactive gas. Unlike carbon monoxide and many other home pollutants, radon’s adverse health effect, lung cancer, is usually not produced immediately. Thus, you may be exposed to radon for many years without ever suspecting its presence in your home.
Q. What does radon do?
A. Radon is a class A Carcinogen that causes lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Q. Is there radon in my home?
A.Yes. All homes have some radon. Regardless of whether the home is older, new, large, small, with a basement, or built over a crawlspace or slab foundation – all homes have radon. In some homes, radon levels can be elevated to levels that significantly increase the incidence of lung cancer. The only way to know if your home has elevated levels is to test.
Q. How do you test for radon?
A. The only way to learn of the presence of radon is to use an instrument or device that is designed to measure or detect it. ALLIN Radon Detection uses CRM (continuous radon monitors) that track the hourly levels and then gives the average over the time period of the testing. This gives an immediate reading without having to send anything to a lab. The readings from this type of monitor are more accurate and tamper-proof.
Q. Is the test equipment harmful to children and pets?
A. No. Our radon monitors do not emit anything. They are a specialized type of Geiger counter which measures alpha particles of radiation. They log the hourly radon levels, as well as the average for the testing period. They also document any touching, bumping, or power interruptions to the monitor.
Q. What is a normal radon level?
A. As with all carcinogens, the lower the level of exposure, the better. Average outdoor levels are 0.3 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L), and indoor levels vary. The average indoor radon level in the U.S. is 1.3 pCi/L. The EPA and the Illinois Division of Nuclear Safety (DNS) say that levels under 2.0 pCi/L are ideal and levels 3.9 pCi/L and below are acceptable. The EPA and DNS recommend that action is taken to lower radon levels at 4.0 pCi/L or above.
Q. What can I do if my home has a high radon level?
A. A licensed radon mitigation professional will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your home.
Q. What are the effects of radon exposure?
A. Long-term exposure is known to cause lung cancer in humans. Ten percent of all lung cancer deaths annually are attributed to radon exposure.
Radon gas decays into particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. As they break down further, these particles release small bursts of energy. These can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime. There are no immediate symptoms associated with radon exposure, and not everyone exposed to elevated levels of radon will develop lung cancer. The amount of time between exposure and the onset of the disease may be many years.
There is no evidence that children are more at risk from radon exposure, but minimizing lifetime exposure should start as early as possible.
Q. Can radon put you at risk for brain cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Parkinson’s disease?
A. Click Here to read about a study from the University of North Dakota.
RADON MYTHS and FACTS
MYTH: Scientists are not sure that radon really is a problem.
Fact: Although some scientists dispute the precise number of deaths due to radon, all the major health organizations (like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Lung Association and the American Medical Association) agree with estimates that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths every year. This is especially true among smokers since the risk to smokers is much greater than to non-smokers.
MYTH: Radon is only a problem in certain parts of the country.
Fact: High radon levels have been found in every state. Radon problems do vary from area to area, but the only way to know your radon level is to test.
MYTH: A neighbor’s test result is a good indication of whether your home has a problem.
Fact: It’s not. Radon levels can vary greatly from home to home. The only way to know if your home has a radon problem is to test it.
MYTH: It’s difficult to sell homes where radon problems have been discovered.
Fact: Where radon problems have been fixed, home sales have not been blocked or frustrated. The added protection is sometimes a good selling point.
MYTH: I’ve lived in my home for so long, it doesn’t make sense to take action now.
Fact: You will reduce your risk of lung cancer when you reduce radon levels, even if you’ve lived with a Radon problem for a long time
REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
Performing radon measurements, during real estate transactions, are our specialty. We do respect the pace of a real estate transaction and we do our best to work within the time allotted for testing. We do our best to handle the extra challenges that are present during a contract negotiation and we do our best to accommodate the particular situation with our primary focus never wavering from performing a good test and getting reliable results.
THE SHORT-TERM TESTING PROCESS
No short-term test can be performed in less than 48 hours. EVER. The State of Illinois requires a minimum 48 hour testing period, and they mean it. Even the 48-hour test will not be possible if the required Closed Building Conditions are not met 12 hours prior to the start of the 48 hour testing period. In the event the CBC’s are not met 12 hours prior to the testing period, the test will be extended for a minimum of 12 hours and the first 12 hours of the data collected will be discarded from the calculations of the results.
BEFORE YOU BUY A TEST KIT
You need to know when it is appropriate to use one:
A test kit is never appropriate for any test being done in conjunction with a real estate transaction, whether you are the buyer or seller.
A test kit is not a good choice for the first test done after a mitigation system is installed.
A test kit is a great choice for homeowners when they are testing for the first time for their own interest or doing their two year check-up test.
The following links will provide you with more information about radon.
IEMA (Illinois Emergency Management Agency) Division of Nuclear Safety
The Illinois Radon Awareness Act – effective 1/1/2008 for all Real Estate transactions in Illinois
To have your home tested or for more information
call 815-535-0990 or Toll-Free at 877-545-6639
State of Illinois License Number: RNI2007210
“Radon Measurement Professional”
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