Radon Testing


What Health Effects are Associated with Radon Exposure?

The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. There are currently no conclusive data on whether children are at greater risk than adults from radon. No specific subtype of lung cancer is associated with radon exposure.

Only smoking causes more cases of lung cancer. If you smoke and you are exposed to elevated radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides radon risk comparison charts for people who smoke and those who have never smoked. Stop smoking and lower your radon level to reduce your lung cancer risk.

Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. As they break down further, these particles release small bursts of energy. This can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime. Not everyone exposed to elevated levels of radon will develop lung cancer, and the amount of time between exposure and the onset of the disease may be many years.

Breathing radon does not cause any short-term health effects such as shortness of breath, coughing, headaches, or fever.

In 1998, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR VI) Report, “The Health Effects of Exposure to Indoor Radon.” The study reviewed and evaluated data from many prior studies and drew conclusions. It fully supports estimates by EPA that radon causes about 15,000 lung cancer deaths per year. Though some people debate the number of deaths, it is widely agreed that radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Research suggests that swallowing water with high radon levels may pose risks, too, although risks from drinking water containing radon are much lower than those from breathing air containing radon. A NAS report on radon in drinking water, “Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water,” was released in 1999. It concluded drinking radon in water causes about 19 stomach cancer deaths per year.

What is Radon?

Radon is cancer-causing, radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. You can’t see radon. And you can’t smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home. Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year.

Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation and/or floor of your home. Once inside your home the radon is trapped, where it can build up. Any building may have a radon problem, this means level at or above the level set by the E.P.A. Whether new or older homes, well-sealed homes, drafty homes with or without basements. Radon from soil gas is the main cause of radon problems. Sometimes radon enters the home with through the well water.

Nearly one out of 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels. Elevated levels have been found in all States. While radon problem is more common in some areas, any home may have problem. The only way to know about your home is to test. Use only the EPA/ NEHA certified technology for testing your home. Anyone performing a test as a part of a real estate transaction must be certified in Pennsylvania. Fred Klein has held radon certification #1548 since 1993.

Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. As they breakdown further, being radioactive these particles release small bursts of energy. This can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over a course of your lifetime. Not everyone exposed to elevated levels of a radon will develop lung cancer. The time between the exposure and on onset of the disease may be many years.

Like other air pollutants, there is uncertainty about the magnitude of radon health risks. However we know more about radon risks than risks from other cancer causing air pollutants. This is because estimates of radon risks are based on studies of cancer in humans (underground miners). Additional studies on more typical populations are under way.

When you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. By stopping smoking and reducing your radon level, you may minimize the risk of lung cancer. For more information please visit the DEP’s Radon Page or the EPA’s Radon Page. Smoking combined with elevated radon is an especially serious health risk.

Children are reported to have greater risk than adults. Typically, 2 non-smokers may get lung cancer out of 1000 if radon level in your home is higher than EPA limits of 4 pCi/L. This increases to 135 per thousand for radon concentration of 20 pCi/L.

It is never too late or too early to have a Radon test performed in your home. You and your family are under a constant treat of this poisonous gas. More and more homebuyers and renters are asking about radon levels before they buy or rent a home. Measurement of Radon gas is listed as one of the items for home inspection.

Search for Radon Test Results by Zip Code

You can search for Radon test results which were taken in basements of homes. To view the Radon data simply enter the 5 digit zip code of the area you wish to search for and click on the Search button. To search with a partial zip code simply type in the digits you wish to search by and click on the Search button: http://www.dep.state.pa.us/RadiationProtection_Apps/Radon/default.asp