Testing for the presence of radon can be simple and inexpensive. There is a “short-term” test for 2 to 90 days and a “long-term” test for 91 days or more. These test kits are readily available from labs that do radon testing, hardware stores, or in states with a State Radon Office. There are a few different ways this type of test is conducted and the result you typically get is a single number for the level of radon that was present during the test. These types of tests can tell you there is radon present in the space tested but not much more.
Radon is typically able to get into lower levels of buildings from drains or cracks in the floor, openings where pipes and wires may enter the space that is not completely sealed, and perhaps even poorly insulated windows and doors that “leak” air. Radon’s ability to enter a building is highly variable throughout the year. The potential for exposure also depends on the geographic location of the building, type of construction, building systems, building operations as well as the nature of the site where the structure was built in the first place. Radon can also enter the space via water if there is a bathroom shower or laundry room in the basement and, if there is a clothes dryer, it can introduce radon as it dries clothes and drives the radon out with the water it is removing from the clothes if the dryer is not properly ventilated.
We prefer the use of long-term samples that are recorded with an electronic data-logging device. This is a battery-powered device that can be programmed to collect a reading, or data point, as often as you would like and some data loggers have the ability to record other data like time, date, temperature, barometric pressure, and relative humidity. The value of using this type of device is that you can tell what the exact levels of radon are AND also tell when they occurred so you can correlate weather conditions and a lot of additional information that will help you better identify how the radon entered the building and the conditions under which that happened so you have a much better idea of exactly what to do to mitigate the radon issue. We have used this type of device in numerous situations to a very high degree of success.
Where Can You Find Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that is naturally present in the environment, primarily in soil, rocks, and water. It can enter buildings through cracks in walls, floors, and foundations, and become trapped inside, where it can accumulate to dangerous levels. Radon is typically found in the lower levels of buildings or in basements of buildings in locations that are known to be high in Granite content, such as New Hampshire which is, after all, the “Granite State”. EPA even has maps of potentially high radon levels that can be used to see if your structure is located in a radon-prone area to help you make the decision of whether you may or may not have a problem and then, how little or how much to test.
Companies and organizations need to be aware of the risks associated with radon exposure as it is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and can cause serious health problems for individuals, particularly those who spend a significant amount of time indoors. Therefore, regular testing and subsequent mitigation of radon levels are crucial to ensuring the health and safety of employees and other occupants in buildings.
What are the Regulations for Radon?
The regulations for radon vary by country and state, but many government agencies have established guidelines and regulations for radon testing and mitigation in workplaces and residential buildings. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set an action level of 4.0 pCi/L for radon in indoor air, and recommends that homeowners and building owners take action to reduce radon levels if they exceed this level.
Additionally, some states and local governments have their own radon regulations and guidelines that must be followed. Companies and organizations should consult with local authorities to ensure compliance with radon regulations and guidelines to protect their employees and occupants’ health and safety.
We are seeing much more activity in other areas of the United States where individual States are starting to take a much greater interest in radon in buildings and schools in particular and we anticipate that interest will either rise to the national level, most likely to EPA once there may be enough momentum. At this point, that is purely speculation on our part but we are hearing way more about radon now rather than at any other time in our 45 years in business.
How to Address Radon
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