10 Radon Myths and Facts

January is National Radon Action Month! That means it’s the perfect time for you to take action to confirm the status of radon in your home to protect the health and safety of your family.

In a previous blog, we provided some basic facts and answered many of the most common questions about radon in your home. Most importantly:

  • Radon exposure can have serious health implications for you and your family.
  • According to EPA Estimates, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
  • Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
  • Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year.
  • About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked.

Your risk of getting lung cancer from radon depends mostly on:

  • How much radon is in your home
  • The amount of time you spend in your home
  • Whether you are a smoker or have ever smoked
radon if you smoke
radon if you never smoked

The only way to verify the level of radon in your home is to test for it. Acuity Home Inspections is a NE Licensed Radon Measurement Business. We can quickly and economically provide you with a 48-hour continuous monitoring test with results that will either help provide peace of mind that your home is below the threshold “action” level or alert you to the need for mitigation to reduce the exposure level.

SunRadon Report

Despite the prevailing scientific evidence and consensus regarding the risks of radon exposure, many people are still not convinced due to having heard any number of several “myths” that have existed about radon. The following list (excerpted from the EPA’s “A Citizen’s Guide to Radon”) addresses some of the most common ones:

MYTH: Scientists aren’t sure radon really is a problem.

FACT: Scientists are more certain about radon risks than risks from most other cancer-causing substances. Although some scientists dispute the precise number of deaths due to radon, all major health organizations (like the Centers for Disease Control, the American Lung Association, and the American Medical Association) agree with estimates that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths every year. This is especially true among smokers since the risk to smokers is much greater than to non-smokers.

MYTH: Radon testing is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.

FACT: Radon testing is easy. You can test your home yourself or hire a qualified radon test company. Either approach takes only a small amount of time and effort.

MYTH: Homes with radon problems can’t be fixed.

FACT: There are simple solutions to radon problems in homes. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners have already fixed radon problems in their homes. Most homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs; check with one or more qualified mitigators for help in identifying qualified mitigation contractors.

MYTH: Radon only affects certain kinds of homes.

FACT: House construction can affect radon levels. However, radon can be a problem in homes of all types: old homes, new homes, drafty homes, insulated homes, homes with basements, and homes without basements. Local geology, construction materials, and how the home was built are among the factors that can affect radon levels in homes.

MYTH: Radon is only a problem in certain parts of the country.

FACT: High radon levels have been found in every state. Radon problems do vary from area to area, but the only way to know your radon level is to test. As shown in the maps below, particularly high concentrations are found in the midwestern states, including Nebraska and Iowa.

US Radon Map
RadonConcentrationsByCounty

MYTH: A neighbor’s test result is a good indication of whether your home has a problem.

FACT: It’s not. Radon levels can vary greatly from home to home. The only way to know if your home has a radon problem is to test it.

MYTH: Everyone should test their water for radon.

FACT:  Although radon gets into some homes through water, it is important to first test the air in the home for radon. If your water comes from a public water system that uses groundwater, call your water supplier. If high radon levels are found and the home has a private well, call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 for information on testing your water.

MYTH: It’s difficult to sell homes where radon problems have been discovered.

FACT: Where radon problems have been fixed, home sales have not been blocked or frustrated. The added protection is sometimes a good selling point.

MYTH: I’ve lived in my home for so long, it doesn’t make sense to act now.

FACT: You will reduce your risk of lung cancer when you reduce radon levels, even if you’ve lived with a radon problem for a long time.

MYTH: Short-term tests can’t be used for deciding whether to fix your home.

FACT: A short-term test followed by a second short-term test* can be used to decide whether to fix your home. However, the closer the average of your two short-term tests is to 4 pCi/L, the less certain you can be about whether your year-round average is above or below that level. Keep in mind that radon levels below 4pCi/L still pose some risk. Radon levels can be reduced in most homes to 2 pCi/L or below.

During the National Radon Action Month of January 2023, Acuity Home Inspections is offering $15 off the regular price of $150 for a radon test. Contact us today or enter discount code RADONACTION15 when you schedule “Radon Testing” services through our online scheduler!