Although the American Society of Home Inspectors does not require environmental testing as part of its standards of practice, home inspectors – especially New Hampshire home inspectors – should seriously consider offering radon testing as a service to customers.
What is radon? Radon (Rn) is a colorless, odorless, naturally occurring gas that comes from the decay of uranium in the ground. It is a known carcinogen and, according to the U.S. Surgeon General, is the second-leading cause of lung cancer – second only to smoking.
One in every 15 houses in the United States has elevated levels of radon. Why lung cancer afflicted not just the lungs of smokers, but non-smokers as well used to be a mystery. Researchers have now concluded that radon exposure is a leading cause.
If the level of radon is tested at 4 picocuries/Liter (pCi/L) or greater, the EPA recommends the installation of a radon mitigation system to bring the levels back down below 4. The World Health Organization recommends no more than a level of 2.7pCi/L.
The state of New Hampshire, where Advanced Home Inspection is based, has several uranium hotspots, specifically around Lakes Sunapee and Winnipesaukee. Overall, New Hampshire has a medium radon level throughout the state, but several counties do have levels exceeding 4pCi/L.
Radon can be detected with a simple air test, and we are proposing that all houses should be tested for its presence.