Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is radon a problem in my home? Post 3 of 7

This is the 3rd blog post in a series about radon in your home:

Radon gas is present in nearly all air.  We all breathe radon every day, usually at very low levels. It is released into the air from the decay of uranium in most soil, rock and water. Radon can be found all over the US and it can be found in any type of building.  You and your family are most susceptible to the negative effects of radon if you are exposed to high levels in your home where you spend most of your time. It is estimated that nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the US have elevated radon levels.

The concentration of radon does vary by geographical area.  The US Environmental Protection Agency has broken up the US map by zones.  A copy of that map can be found at http://www.epa.gov/radon/zonemap.html .
The zones are defined as follows:
Zone 1 (Red) Highest Potential – the predicted average indoor radon screening level is greater than 4 pCi/L
Zone 2 (Orange) Moderate Potential - the predicted average indoor radon screening level is between 2 and 4 pCi/L
Zone 3 (Yellow) Low Potential - the predicted average indoor radon screening level is below 2 pCi/L

This map is the EPA Radon map of Colorado. As you can see the majority of Colorado is in Zone 1 which has the highest potential for predicted indoor averages over the EPA limit of 4.0 pCi/L. 

This map only indicates the POTENTIAL for high levels of radon in your home.  The only way to determine the levels in an individual home is through testing.  Testing methods will be addressed in a later post.  Indoor radon levels are directly affected by the soil composition under and around the house, and the ease with which radon enters a house.  Homes that are next door to each other can have different indoor radon levels.  Other conditions can cause radon levels to vary from month to month and day to day.

US Environmental Protection Agency   www.epa.gov/radon
National Cancer Institute www.cancer.gov


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My next post will discuss how radon enters your home…

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