Radon is a gas that comes from the soil. You can’t see it or smell it, so the only way to tell if it’s there is to test for it. Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can become trapped in your lungs and lead to lung cancer. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and it is no secret that Pennsylvania has a big Radon problem. We have some of the highest documented levels in the country, and a high percentage of homes that have an issue vs. homes that don’t. Any building can have a Radon problem; even new homes or buildings without basements. Since Radon is a gas, levels can vary with changes to a building, and even seasonally and with certain types of weather, or just over time. The EPA recommends retesting every 2 years.
If you find that you have a Radon problem, don’t panic. Your building can be remediated. This typically involves sealing some openings and installation of a vacuum system that draws soil gases from underneath your building and ejects them harmlessly above it. Like most cancer risks, the danger increases with long term exposure. You don’t need to evacuate if your levels are above the EPA recommended action level 4.0 pCi/L, but you should monitor and correct the source of the problem.
When choosing a Radon mitigator, make sure they are certified professionals. Our PA DEP certification numbers are 1512 and 1725 for Radon Testing and Radon Mitigation. If you have any questions or comments concerning persons who provide radon-related services, please contact the Bureau of Radiation protection at the Department of Environmental Protection: PO Box 8469, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8469, (717) 783-3594.