Test for and Mitigate Radon.  You Could Save Lives.  Part 3 of 5: Testing Considerations.

Test for and Mitigate Radon. You Could Save Lives. Part 3 of 5: Testing Considerations.

Part 3 of 5. Radon Testing Considerations.

January is National Radon Action Month; it is a perfect time to dwell on the dangers of radon and how to mitigate them. In this third of a five-part series, we will discuss considerations for testing for radon.

Testing is the only way to know the level of radon in a building. Levels of radon can vary radically from building to building; it depends on the construction and the amount of radon in the soil. Even newer buildings, including those with radon resistant construction, are recommended to be tested by the EPA.

The EPA recommends acting to reduce radon in buildings where the level is 4 pCi/L or higher. Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air or pCi/L. The higher the pCi/L, the greater the risk for health issues. EPA studies found that radon concentrations in outdoor air average about 0.4 pCi/L. However, radon and its decay products can accumulate to much higher concentrations inside a building.

Considerations for Testing. In most states, people can perform tests on their own for single family. Test kits can be purchased at such places as hardware stores, online, or from state agencies. Be sure to select a test that is labeled to meet EPA requirements. It is important to follow directions exactly. The test kit should be placed in the lowest and most often inhabited area of the building; the basement or first floor. Since radon emanates from the ground, it is unlikely that radon will accumulate to dangerous levels after the second level. Avoid enclosed areas, high humidity, or high air velocity, such as a kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, furnace room, closet, or crawl space. Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible to avoid drafts. The kit, once used, is usually mailed to a laboratory to obtain test results. A state or local radon official can help you if you have any questions. For multi-unit housing and larger buildings, it is recommended that a qualified professional be used to complete radon testing.

Hiring a Consultant to Test. In many cases, building owners will decide to hire a qualified radon tester who knows the proper conditions, test devices, and guidelines for obtaining a reliable radon test result. The consultant should have proper professional liability insurance, and in some states, they require licensing.

They can

  • Evaluate the building and recommend a testing approach designed to obtain reliable results
  • Explain how proper conditions can be maintained during the radon test
  • Emphasize to occupants that a reliable test result depends upon their cooperation since interference with, or disturbance of, the test or closed-building conditions will invalidate the test result
  • Analyze the data and report the measurement results
  • Provide an independent test result

Contact RPF Environmental, Inc. for a Consultation on Radon Testing in Your Building

www.airpf.com 1-800-SAFEAIR