FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
What Is Radon?
What Level Of Radon Is Considered Dangerous?
Is Radon A Concern With Granite Countertops?
Is There A Lot Of Radon In Colorado?
What Are The Health Risks Of Radon?
Are Certain People More At Risk Than Others?
A Fairly Common Response When You Hear About Elevated Radon Is Just Open A Window. Does That Work?
If Opening A Window Doesn’t Work, What Is The Fix?
Is It True Radon Can Build Up In A House That Has Been Closed Up And Cause The Radon Levels To Be Falsely Elevated?
My Builder Put In A Radon Vent, Does That Mean The Radon Is Fixed?
Are There Any Laws In Colorado Regarding Radon?
My House Is New And Does Not Have A Basement, Should I Still Be Worried About Radon?
What Is The Test Process In A Home?
Radon Sounds Scary And Is Kind Of Like Bad News. Some People May Not Want To Know If Their Home Has Radon. What Advice Do You Have In This Regard?
What Is The Best Way To Find A Radon Contractor?
What Attributes Should I Look For When Selecting A Radon Contractor?
Is There Anything Else We Should Know?
Q: What is Radon?
A: Radon is a naturally occurring gas deterioration of uranium in the soil and bedrock underneath homes in Colorado. It is one of the six inert gases on the Periodic Table , and it is Colorless, Odorless and Tasteless.
The breakdown of the gas is an Alpha “ionizing” Radiation called Radon Decay Products
Out of All the Radiation people are exposed to, 80% is naturally occurring. Of that 80%, over 50% of Radiation exposure is ONLY RADON.
Radon is the #1 source of ionizing radiation a person will be exposed to in a lifetime and is far more dangerous than any other type of natural or manmade radiation.
Approximately 2,700 people a year die from Asbestos exposure (Mesothelioma) versus 21,000 to 27,000 per year from Radon. In addition, the latency period for Lung Cancer from Asbestos is 50 years. The latency period for Radon-Related Lung Cancer ranges from 5-20 years, depending on the radon levels and length of time exposed.
Radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and Radon combined with second-hand smoke, smoking and other indoor air pollutants can make the risk of Lung Cancer 3 to 10 times greater.
Q: What Level Of Radon Is Considered Dangerous?
A: There is NO safe level of radon, since it only takes one ionizing alpha particle to explode the DNA strand inside the Lung Cell.
The DNA is broken into multiple parts, making it very difficult or impossible for the body to repair. Repaired incorrectly, the cell may mutate and the mutation causes the cancerous tumors.
1 picoCurie or( Rn 1 pCi/L) is 2.2 Radioactive occurrences in 1 liter of air per minute…that is a lot of radiation!
It is in the air we breathe – Outdoor Air in Colorado will test around Rn 0.8 pCi/L
The current action level in the U.S. is Rn 4.0 pCi/L.
The action level recently reset by the World Health Organization is lower, at Rn 2.7 pCI/L.
In addition, the lungs are centrally located in the body and are in proximity to other organs, which lends an increased possibility for the cancer to spread to other parts of the body.
Q: Is Radon A Concern With Granite Countertops?
A: Not really. There is uranium in granite, therefore there is some off-putting of ionizing radiation and Radon Gas emissions from the granite.
Levels can reportedly vary depending on the amount of uranium in the countertop. We have never seen enough Radon emanating from a granite countertop to pose a serious health risk. The granite we need to be concerned about is coming from the uranium in the bedrock underneath our homes, workplaces, schools and daycares.
Q: Is There A Lot of Radon in Colorado?
A: Yes! Colorado is ranked #5 out of the 50 States for high radon levels, and the entire state is considered a “Zone One” State by the EPA.
The Colorado Department of Health reports more than 50% of homes, schools and workplaces in Colorado will test more than the action level of Rn 4 pCi/L.
Approximately 21,000 Americans die of ONLY Radon-Related Lung Cancer EACH YEAR.
ALL COUNTIES IN COLORADO HAVE THE HIGHEST POTENTIAL FOR RADON
Q: What are the Health Risks of Radon?
A: The main health risk is it’s potential to cause lung cancer.
Lung cancer is the most lethal of all cancers, killing more people than ALL the other cancers combined! The survival rate is one of the lowest, at 15% after 5 years.
In addition, Radon is an ionizing radiation, which is the most invasive to our bodies.
Radiation increases the production of Free Radicals in our bodies, compromising our immune system and increasing the aging process.
Q: Are Certain People More At Risk Than Others?
A: Children and people with asthma, allergy, smokers, COPD, and those with a family history of ANY Cancer ALL have a greater risk of getting Radon-Related Lung Cancer.
However, if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer.
The health risk of getting lung cancer increases by the levels you are exposed to, as well as the length of time you are exposed. For example, an exposure of 4 pCi/L over 10 years has the SAME risk of 40 pCi/L over a 1 year period.
Smokers or people that have smoked but quit, have a 7 to 10 times greater risk of contracting lung cancer from Radon.
Many smokers may smoke all their lives and not get lung cancer, but when combined with Radon, the risk increases significantly.
Q: A Fairly Common Response When You Hear About Elevated Radon Levels Is “Just Open A Window”. Does That Work?
A: The short answer is NO.
The radon is typically the highest in the lowest levels of the structure since the source comes from the ground.
Diluting the radon by opening a window MIGHT reduce the radon levels temporarily, but it is not practical in Colorado to actively ventilate the structure 24/7 by opening windows.
Also, our homes are being built with better energy efficiency with the unintended consequence of increasing our exposure to indoor air pollutants including Radon.
The negative pressure inside a building compared to the positive air pressure draws Radon in at concentrated levels.
That negative pressure inside the structure is greater during closed house conditions and thermal stack events are occurring
Thermal stack events that increase the negative pressure are created by our common use of combustion air appliances such as heating systems, hot water tanks, fireplaces, dryer vents and bathroom fans.
The radon gets drawn in at higher and more concentrated levels when we are at home using those appliances making the radon even higher when the home is occupied.
Q: If Opening A Window Doesn’t Work, What Is The Fix?
A: An ACE Radon Mitigation system is a depressurization unit that mitigates the radon from entering the building through the creation of a stronger negative pressure under the foundation of the structure. Radon is like water and will follow the path of least resistance being drawn into the piping and safely venting the radon to the outside, preventing it from entering the building.
Q: Is It True Radon Can Build Up In A House That Has Been Closed Up And Cause The Radon Levels To Be Falsely Elevated?
A: No. The half-life of radon is 3.8 days and new radon gas is constantly entering the home, going through its decay cycle and plating out.
In fact, it only takes 12 hours of closed house conditions for the radon to come back to its equilibrium level after fully ventilating the house, then the levels can vary based on the negative pressure variation, but it does not keep “building up”.
Q: My Builder Put In A Radon Vent, Does That Mean The Radon Is Fixed?
A: First, the only way to know if even a passive vent stack is working is to test.
Although Builders are well-intended to make homes “radon ready”, it is more often times our experience some of the steps to ensure a properly installed system have not been completed. An on-site visual inspection is usually required to ensure the vent stack can be used, it there electrical available for the fan, was the slab perimeter sealed and other applicable items.
Q: Are There Any Laws In Colorado Regarding Radon?
A: Yes. There are three laws regulated by the Colorado Department of Public Health
1. Real Estate Transactions: If a resident has ever tested for Radon, it must be disclosed in a Real Estate Transaction.
2. Radon Testing in Schools: Schools are REQUIRED to test for Radon by State Statute.
3. Radon in Day Cares: There is a new law in the works that requires Radon Testing in Day Cares. The Scope and the guidelines are in development. It appears it will be required in ALL DAY CARES, Children, Family and Adult Facilities. (more information to come)
Q: My House Is New And Does Not Have A Basement, Should I Still Be Worried About Radon?
A: Yes. It is a myth that Radon levels may not be a concern based on the vintage of construction of the home.
There is more than a 50% chance ANY structure in Colorado may test over the action level of RN 4pCi/l.
The Radon enters the structure because of the negative pressure inside compared to the positive pressure outside, not just how it was built.
Also, the newer the house the more energy efficient features are built into the home, making it more airtight and prone for the Radon to come in at more concentrated levels.
Slab on grade, crawlspaces, basements – Apartment, Schools, Office Buildings and HOMES might test high for Radon. The only way to know for sure is to test.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Landlords have a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment to their tenants. This alone usually compels the Landlord to fix an elevated Radon Level in a tenant occupied situation whether it be a leased office space, house, or an apartment. The EPA has a Guide for Tenants:
Q: What Is The Testing Process In A Home?
A: It is important to recognize the advantages and limitation of the testing methods. Short Term, Long Term and Testing device
Short Term Test: It is easy and inexpensive to test for radon. The first step is usually to perform a short term test (48 to 96 hours) with closed house conditions. Short term Radon Test Kits can be purchased from any local hardware store for $15 to $40 including lab fees.
One of the simplest and accurate tests can be purchased from Air Chek at www.radon.com.
If you do not feel comfortable doing your own testing, we recommend hiring a Certified testing professional that charges around $150.00 to perform the test.
Upon receipt of the test results, a Certified Radon professional should be consulted to ensure correct interpretation and consultation regarding the next steps. Mitigation or further testing may be recommended.
Long Term Tests: In non-real estate transactions, a long term test for a minimum of 90 days to 1 year may be recommended depending on the results and circumstances of the short term test. The advantage of a long term test is closed house conditions are not required. The results will provide an accurate reading of the actual exposure to Radon living in the house how you normally live in it.
Radon levels inside a building vary hour to hour day to day and ALL tests results provided are an average of the radon levels while the testing device is deployed. The results will vary depending on length of the test, seasonality (summer vs. winter) and the occupants activities during the test. For example, Christmas Day, when everyone is showering, fireplaces are on and the stove and oven fans are running the radon will be higher due to the thermal stack activity than when the home is not occupied.
Q: Radon Sounds Scary And Is Kind Of Like Bad News. Some People May Not Want To Know If There Home Has Radon. What Advice Do You Have In This Regard?
A: The bottom line is Lung Cancer from Radon exposure is preventable.
Protecting your family, especially Children are paramount due to higher risk of length of time exposed.
There are new studies indicating the non-smoking younger demographic lung cancer incidents are on the rise.
Radon is easy to test for and the fix is affordable. The cost of a radon system can vary based on the size and construction of a building.
An average home can typically be mitigated for less than $1,500.00.
The average homeowner in the U.S. stays in their home for over 13 years, so the cost to mitigate is less than $10.00 per month.
ACE OFFERS FINANCING TO SPREAD THE COST OVERTIME. ENJOY GOOD INDOOR AIR QUALITY TODAY; DON’T DELAY REDUCING EXPOSURE TO A SERIOUS HEALTH RISKJ.
In addition, a properly installed Radon System will not only aid in the Indoor Air Quality, but will increase the energy efficiency of the home saving at least $10.00 per month in utility costs making the net cost close to zero.
Lastly, Indoor Air Quality is one of the top 5 health risks and potential buyers of your home when you decide to sell will perceive a properly installed Radon System as an added benefit.
A lot of our current business is fixing homes during the real estate transaction because buyers are testing and wanting it fixed by the seller. It only makes sense to go ahead and test, if necessary install a system and enjoy the benefit of low radon levels while occupying the home.
Q: What Is The Best Way To Find A Radon Contractor?
A Like any other contracting industry consumers should research and evaluate companies by first checking credentials.
It is important to hire a Certified Radon Professional that has been trained in the proper installation methods and protocols.
A list of professionals can be found at www.nrpp.info OR call Chrys Kelley at the Colorado Dept. of Public Health 303-692-3442
Q: What Attributes Should I Look For When Selecting A Radon Contractor?
A Although an NRPP Certification is an important first step, it is always wise to compare and do some research before hiring.
Referrals from Real Estate Professionals, Home Inspectors, BBB Ratings and other Referral Lists are a good place to start.
In addition, the application and installation of the systems vary widely. Make sure the contractor is using Employees that have been background checked. Subcontractors not properly insured may put liability on you, as a homeowner.
Details of what is included in the proposal such as the Warranty, type of materials used, Scope of Work should all be checked and compared. Make sure you are getting a system that is properly installed and built to last.
Take the time for an on-site inspection. It can save time and money in the long run versus an over the phone “bid”.
Q: Is There Anything Else We Should Know
A Indoor Air Quality is becoming a significant part of our Health and Wellness.
The average person spends 90% of our time indoors and the air we breathe inside is 2 to 5 times more polluted than outside.
ACE Radon and ACE Healthy Air can help protect your Family from Radon and other Indoor Air Pollutants.
Thank you for the opportunity to answer questions and help consumers better understand Radon and the importance of being aware of the indoor air we breathe.