Is it Safe to Live in a House with High Radon Levels?

Is it Safe to Live in a House with High Radon Levels?

“Is it safe to live in a house with high radon levels?” — we get asked this question a lot. The answer most of the time is “no, it is not safe.” However, it is impossible to completely remove radon in your home — you can only reduce it to safer levels.

According to the EPA, radon levels above 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) are considered unsafe. Because there are essentially no safe radon levels, the EPA also suggests that you should aim for your home to be within 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. But homes with readings between 2pCi/L & 4pCi/L should also consider mitigation. As of 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) set their threshold to mitigate at 2.7pCi/L.

Looking closely at Pennsylvania, we have one of the most serious radon problems in the United States. Approximately, 40% of Pennsylvania homes have elevated radon levels. There’s a need for professional radon testing and radon mitigation systems installations in our area, and Mold Medics aims to deliver. 

Signs and Symptoms of Radon in Your Home 
Did you know that radon is undetectable by human senses? While you can’t physically see, touch, taste, or smell radon, the only way you can know if you have elevated levels of radon in your home is through radon testing. However, if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you could be exposed to elevated levels of radon in your home:

  • Chest pain 
  • Continuously getting bronchitis or pneumonia 
  • Coughing 
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulties breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Hoarseness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tightness in chest
  • Trouble Swallowing  
  • Weight loss

It is best to be safe and protect your loved ones by scheduling a radon test even if you don’t have these symptoms. If levels come back elevated, a radon mitigation system is necessary. 

Long Term Effects of Radon Exposure 

Radon is harmlessly dispersed outside, but if it accumulates in buildings it can cause long-term damage to your health, which is why radon testing and mitigation must be taken seriously.  When inhaled it becomes trapped in your lungs, where it undergoes radioactive decay and eventually causes lung cancer by damaging the DNA of your sensitive lung tissue. 

According to both the National Cancer Institute (NCI) & the EPA, exposure to elevated radon levels causes lung cancer in smokers and non-smokers alike. Also, research shows that “the overall risk of lung cancer from radon is even higher in smokers and former smokers” compared to non-smokers. Note: the number one cause of lung cancer is smoking with radon exposure in second for being a leading cause of lung cancer-related deaths. 

Radon Testing 

The only way to protect your family and loved ones from elevated radon levels is through radon testing. Both the EPA and the Pennsylvania DEP recommend that you test your home for radon every two years, regardless of whether you have a mitigation system or not. This ensures that radon levels are not elevated and the mitigation system is working properly. They also recommend that you get retests performed before you sell your home or after any major home renovation, especially if they involve structural changes or foundation repairs. (For example,  finishing your basement or making adjustments to your HVAC system). 

At Mold Medics, we provide professional radon testing — you can conduct radon testing on your own with a charcoal or alpha track test; however, it is not as accurate as a professional radon test. When you schedule professional radon testing, we conduct active tests. An active test is where a device is put into your home or property to measure radon levels in your home over time.

Radon Mitigation Systems 

Once you schedule and complete a radon test and levels come back elevated (above 4 pCi/L), we’ll implement a radon mitigation system. At Mold Medics, we install sub-slab depressurization radon mitigation systems that follow the standards of both the EPA and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). In this system, PVC piping runs from the sub-slab radon collection points to the fan that is mounted on the exterior of your home. By creating a negative pressure under your home, it forms a radon collection point which is continually vented by the system. The collected gas is expelled from your home through the exterior stack that extends past your roofline. We’ll conduct a post-test 24 hours after the installment to ensure that the mitigation system was properly installed. You can also click here for an infographic and to learn more about the sub-slab depressurization process. 

Contact Mold Medics 

At Mold Medics, we’re dedicated to keeping you and your family healthy and safe. If you want to schedule a radon test or implement a radon mitigation system (or have questions), don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team is readily available to help and answer any questions you may have. 
Additionally, we offer many valuable resources about radon (and mold!) on our blog and our website. Learn about how you can reduce radon in your home, the signs of radon poisoning, the importance of long-term testing, and more!

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