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Radon Testing – A Simple Procedure That Saves Lives

By on February 18, 2014 in Home Safety

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.