Most of the radon testing in this country is performed by home inspectors. According to the Surgeon General, Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that is found all over the U.S. and comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. You can breathe or ingest it into your body.
Every house has radon; the question is, how much. The EPA's limit is 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). The only way to find out if radon is present is to test for it.
Radon water testing is discussed in the water testing section. For more information on radon in water call your state's EPA office or the EPA Drinking Water Hotline 1-800-426-4791.
The first action that the EPA suggests upon receiving a positive test result is to re-test. Since most people are having a home inspection due to a purchase, you will need to have a side-by-side double test performed.
The test should be considered reliable only if the house has had its windows and doors closed for at least 12 hours before and during the test. The test should be for a time period of at least 48 hours. The test kit should be placed in the lowest lived-in level of the home (for example, the basement if it is frequently used, otherwise the first floor). It should be put in a room that is used regularly (like a living room, playroom, den or bedroom) but not in your kitchen or bathroom. The test kit is to be placed at least 20 inches above the floor where it will not be disturbed and away from drafts, high heat, high humidity and placed away from exterior walls.
f the test is positive you may want to have a radon reduction system installed. The cost for such a system can range from $500 to $2,500 depending on how the house is constructed.
For more information on radon and a list of certified contractors & testers, call:
The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA)
The National Radon Safety Board (NRSB)