Is there a Safe Radon Level?
Perhaps you’ve recently tested your home for radon and discovered levels under 4 pCi/L. While all levels of radon do pose some health risks, according to the Indoor Radon Abatement Act, also known as Radon Act 51, passed by Congress in 1988, home and property owners should take action when radon tests show results of 4 pCi/L or higher, with a long-term goal of indoor air as radon-free as the ambient, outside air (~0.4 pCi/L). The 4pCi/L level is the U.S. EPA recommended action level and is based on the “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) approach. EPA guidelines also recommend that action “be considered” at a radon level of 2 pCi/L.
Some radon reduction systems can reduce the radon level in your home by up to 99%. However, depending on home construction, geology, and many other factors, a radon reduction to less than 2 pCi/L might not be achievable in some homes.
If You’re a Smoker…
If 1,000 people who smoke cigarettes were exposed to 10 pCi/L of radon over a lifetime, about 150 could get lung cancer. About 62 out of 1,000 smokers who are constantly exposed to radon levels at 4 pCi/L could get lung cancer. This is equivalent to 5 times the risk of dying in a car crash.
If You’re a Non-Smoker…
When exposed to 8 pCi/L, about 15 people out of 1,000 could get lung cancer, and with exposure to 4 pCi/L, about 7 people out of 1,000 could get lung cancer, which is about the same risk of dying in a car crash.How Can I Lower the Radon Level in My Home?
Again, there is no “safe” level of radon, which means you are always at some risk; even outdoor air has some radon gas (≃ .04 pCi/L). The risk can be greatly reduced by having your home mitigated to reduce radon to the lowest possible level.
The primary method for reducing radon is by Active Soil Depressurization (ASD), a technique that enables the radon gas to be drawn by a radon fan from beneath the house through a PVC vent pipe and released harmlessly above the roof. Sealing the foundation cracks will make the system much more efficient. A professional radon mitigation contractor is your best source for the design and installation of the proper system to successfully mitigate your home or building.
If you’re concerned about costs, radon reduction systems usually cost far less than most common home repairs. The cost will be dependent on your home’s construction methods and materials, soil conditions, and other factors, which might include the radon levels. It’s best to consult with a radon mitigator who can provide more insight.
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