Radon Gas in Air and Water
Radon Gas in Air
Radon is a radioactive gas which results from the natural breakdown of uranium found in rocks and soil. Studies have shown that exposure to radon gas increases the risk of lung cancer. Most homes in Connecticut have a measurable amount of radon gas, and some have high levels. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that steps be taken to reduce radon if the level detected is 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher. Although there are some known “hot spots” for radon in the state, there is no way to accurately predict whether a particular house will have high radon. Two adjacent homes may have very different radon levels. For this reason it is a good idea to test for radon before buying a home. If elevated radon levels are detected, the cost of correcting it can be considered along with other factors affecting the purchase. In some cases the seller may pay part or all of the cost of radon remediation.
ECHIS uses continuous radon monitors (CRM’s) to measure radon gas. These instruments provide more information than charcoal canisters or other similar devices. A graphic printout of the results shows the hourly radon readings for the test period. The CRM is placed in the house for a minimum of 48 hours. For an accurate radon test, “closed house” conditions must be maintained for 12 hours prior to testing and throughout the test period. This means that doors and windows must be kept closed, except for normal traffic in and out of the house, and systems which draw in outside air (whole-house fans, air conditioners set on “fresh air”, etc.) should not be used.
Don’t panic if your radon result is 4.0 or higher! In most cases radon is effectively controlled by a simple fan system that draws air from under the basement floor and exhausts it outside. Only a licensed radon remediation contractor should be hired to do this type of work. A qualified radon mitigation contractor should also provide a follow-up test, to verify that the system is working properly.
Radon in Water
In homes that have a private water supply, radon may also be found in the well water. Radon in water contributes to the radon levels in the air, and radon levels may be higher in the shower, around the washing machine, and other areas where water is used. The State of Connecticut suggests that action be taken to reduce radon levels in water if the measurement is greater than 5000 pCi/L. There are systems available that are effective in reducing radon in water to a very low level.
Additional Information: EPA Radon Information