Friday, October 22, 2004

Has your home been invaded by radon?

As a home inspector, one of the services that I perform for many of my clients is radon testing. However, I am constantly surprised by the number of clients who allow their real estate agent to talk them out of having the testing done. The comments from agents usually follow along the lines of "that neighborhood doesn't have it." Whether the comments stem from ignorance or a desire to not muck up the deal, probably varies from agent to agent. The bottom line is that radon is a very real health problem. Fortunately, in most cases, it is easy and relatively inexpensive to reduce elevated radon levels to an acceptable level.

Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the soil and in groundwater. It seeps into homes through the basement, crawlspace, slab or carried by well water. It is only considered a potential health problem when the concentrations are higher than normal. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and it is why the EPA and the Surgeon General recommend that all homes be tested. Every home in the U.S. has the potential to have elevated levels of radon. The only way to find out is to test the home. The fact that one home has an acceptable radon level is not a predictor for the home next door or down the street.

For more information about radon, visit the U.S. EPA's Radon Home Page or EPA's A Citizen's Guide to Radon. Then get your home tested!