Sunday, September 29, 2013

Radon in My Life

     Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, but radioactive, elemental gas in the bedrock of many areas in the U.S  It is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. This gas leaches into our homes through our basements, crawl spaces, and foundations, increasing the risk of lung cancer.
 Radon : Radon material on the periodic table. Part of a series.

I have no idea why I have lung cancer, but as a non-smoker with no family history, I occasionally think about its cause.  

     Several months ago I had a radon home-test which I didn't use because it was expired.  As the weather is getting cooler around this area and I think about our house being "closed up" more for the winter months, I remembered that I wanted to check our radon level.  So, a few weeks ago I finally went to the local hardware store and picked up a new home tester.  I followed the easy instructions and have learned that our radon level is 10.8 pCi/L in the basement.  The EPA recommends fixing your house if the level is 4.0pCi/L or greater. [Radon levels are usually highest in the lowest part of a house.  The radon level, in general, on the floor above the lowest part of a house, is 50%.  For each floor above the lowest part of a house, it continues to be reduced by ~50%.  Therefore, our first floor is ~5.4 pCi/L and our second floor is ~2.7 pCi/L.]

     With the help of Angie's List, Wynn and I have arranged for radon mitigation of our house next week.  The radon guy will first seal around our sump pump because radon gas can enter our house around it.  Then he will drill into our foundation and run a PVC pipe up through our house, into the attic, and out the roof.  There will be a small continuous fan the draws the radon gas out from our foundation and into the atmosphere.  Like this: 
We had three estimates which ranged from $1,000-1,200 for mitigation.  [The test kit was ~$11.00.  I had to send in the test kit vials to a lab, which cost $30.00.]  Once the mitigation system is installed, I'll test it again.

     I don't know that if there was less radon in my home I wouldn't have gotten cancer, but looking forward, I'd like to protect my family as much as possible.  I'd like that for you, too.  Please consider testing your home.  

*Note:  We had our house tested for radon when we moved in back in 1994.  At that time, the radon level was OK.  Things change.

Love, Luna


Wanwan said...

Who knew? I sure didn't! Thank you for the teaching moment, Luna!

Emily Walsh said...

Hi there! I just stopped by and was checking out a few of your posts. I didn't know that about radon, you learn something new everyday. I had a quick question about your blog and was hoping you could email me back when you get the chance -emilywalsh688 (at) Thanks : )