Radon gas is an odorless and colorless gas, a by-product of the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. Radon gas enters the built environment through many pathways and impacts the air you breathe. Testing for radon is simple and is completed by conducting either short term or long term testing. Short term (48 hours) testing requires specific testing conditions to be met including “closed-house” conditions which limit the amount of air entering a building from doors, windows or whole house fans. Long term (90 days) testing does not have specific testing does not have to be completed under “closed” conditions.
Testing is the only way to determine the concentrations of radon gas in a home, classroom or office. The EPA currently recommends testing structures to determine radon concentrations because the only way to determine its presence is by testing. Testing in homes or apartments can be conducted by homeowners and occupants; however, testing for any real estate transfers (including residential and commercial transactions), schools, child care centers, residential care facilities or public housing must be conducted by a an individual who is certified. In California, the certifying entity is the California Department of Public Health which requires performance testing as well as continuing education for certification.
Background levels of radon gas in the ambient outdoor air are typically below 1 picoCurie per liter of air (pCu/L). A “picocurie” is the unit of measurement for radon gas concentrations used by the EPA. The level of concern as established by the EPA is 4.0 pCu/L. Even at the action level concentration, the health effects of radon gas may be significant, especially for young children and other high risk groups.
When confirmed elevated concentrations of radon are detected, a qualified and certified radon mitigation contractor can design and install a system to lower the radon gas concentrations below the EPA action level of 4.0 pCu/L. Mitigation systems are typically simple in design and consist of a fan on the roof and a vent pipe under the structure which draws out the radon gas and discharges it outside of the structure.
Testing for radon is simple and non-intrusive and can truly save lives. For more information regarding radon contact out radon experts at 562-495-5777.
Blog Post by Tina Jordan.