Radon is a odorless colorless substance that usually sits in the lowest room in the house (basement). Exposure to elevated levels of radon over time can lead to lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of cancer in Canada and Europe. The scary aspect of radon is people do not know it is present in their home.
Factually speaking one in fifteen homes have high radon levels. Due to the fact that radon is colorless, odorless and tasteless the only way to determine if radon is present in your home is testing for it. The longer you are exposed to higher levels of radon the more likely you are to develop issues from the exposure. This is the main reason why it is so important to test for radon prior to purchasing your home. The radon test is usually performed at the time of the home inspection. The home inspector will place 2 testing canisters in the basement for 2-5 days and return for pickup and shipment of the testing canisters to a testing lab.
I will try to avoid all the scientific mumbo jumbo behind the testing but these are the facts. If the radon test comes back and the results are higher than the EPA standard of 4.0 pCi/L (pico-curies per liter of air) then mitigation is recommended. Being exposed to levels of 4.0 pCi/L ((pico-curies per liter of air)) for an extended perior of time according to the EPA is equivilant to smoking A HALF OF PACK OF CIGARETTES A DAY.
So what happens if the levels come back higher than 4.0 pCi/L (pico-curies per liter of air). Mitigation is recommended!
Depending on if your home is on a slab vs basement and many other factors will determine what type of method is recommended additionally how much the mitigation will cost. For more information on different methods, questions to ask a contractor and possible cost please visit the New York State Department of Health .
Most of you who are reading this article are probably residing in the Albany County or surrounding Counties. Lets take a look at the maps below to see where the predominate radon exists. Remember even if you are located in a low level area it is always worth having a radon test done!
The above map indicated the "hot spots" in the red/orange color. Albany County NY has some hot spots for radon but as you can see some counties such as Otsego County NY is covered in high radon. North of Saratoga County the present of radon is less prevalent. Schenectady County results of radon present are on the lower end.