Protecting People from Radon
- How do I know if there is radon in my home?
You cannot see, feel, smell, or taste radon. Testing your home is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing for radon in all rooms below the third floor. EPA also recommends testing in schools.
EPA recommends reducing levels of radon in homes where radon concentrations exceed the EPA radon action level of 4 picoCuries per liter.
Radon testing is inexpensive and easy--it should only take a few minutes of your time. Millions of Americans have already tested their homes for radon. Various low-cost, do-it-yourself test kits are available through the mail and in hardware stores and other retail outlets. You can also hire a trained contractor to do the testing for you.
- What can I do to protect myself and my family from radon?
The first step is to test your home for radon, and have it fixed if it is at or above EPA's Action Level of 4 picoCuries per liter. You may want to take action if the levels are in the range of 2-4 picoCuries per liter. Generally, levels can be brought below 2 pCi/l fairly simply.
The best method for reducing radon in your home will depend on how radon enters your home and the design of your home. For example, sealing cracks in floors and walls may help to reduce radon. There are also systems that remove radon from the crawl space or from beneath the concrete floor or basement slab that are effective at keeping radon from entering your home. These systems are simple and don't require major changes to your home. Other methods may be necessary.
People who have private wells should test their well water to ensure that radon levels meet EPA's newly proposed standard. Call the National Radon Hotline at (800) 767-7236 for more information.
What recommendations has the Federal government made to protect human health from radon?
In 1988, EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General issued a Health Advisory recommending that all homes be tested below the third floor for radon. They also recommended fixing homes with radon levels at or above 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L), EPA's National Voluntary Action Level. EPA and the Surgeon General also recommend that schools nationwide be tested for radon.
- What is EPA doing about radon?
EPA has established a voluntary program to promote radon awareness, testing, and reduction. The program sets an 'Action Level of 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/l) of air for indoor radon. The action level is not the maximum safe level for radon in the home. Instead it is the point at which the cost to the homeowner for fixing the problem (taking action) is warranted by the risk from the radon. However, the lower the level of radon, the better. Generally, levels can be brought below 2 pCi/l fairly simply. In addition to working with homeowners, EPA is working with home builders and building code organizations. The goals are to help newly constructed homes be more radon resistant and to encourage radon testing when existing homes are sold.
The 1988 Indoor Radon Abatement Act authorizes EPA to provide grants to states to support testing and reducing radon in homes. With various non-governmental and public health organizations, EPA promotes awareness and reduction of indoor radon. Partners include the American Lung Association, the National Environmental Health Association, the American Society of Home Inspectors, and the National Safety Council. EPA has also proposed a standard for the maximum amount of radon that may be found in drinking from community water systems using ground water.
- How to Find a Qualified Radon Service Professional in Your Area
If you are interested in finding a qualified radon service professional to test or mitigate your home, or you need to purchase a radon measurement device, you should:
Contact your State Radon Contact to determine what are, or whether there are, requirements associated with providing radon measurement and or radon mitigations/reductions in your State. Some States maintain lists of contractors available in their State or they have proficiency programs or requirements of their own.
Contact one or both of the two privately-run National Radon Proficiency Programs who are offering proficiency listing, accreditation, and/or certification in radon testing and mitigation.
Please Note: EPA-issued Radon Measurement (RMP) and Mitigation (RCP) photo-identification cards, listing letters and identification numbers have not been valid since EPA closed its proficiency program in October 1998. Consequently, persons and companies should not represent themselves, their products or their services as "EPA Listed " or "EPA Approved", or otherwise imply an EPA sanction. Consumers are encouraged to contact their State radon office www.epa.gov/iaq/whereyoulive.html or additional information or if you have a complaint/question.