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More than you wanted to know about Radon Gas (Part 2)

Is your home radon free?

Almost all homes have some level of radon. The average indoor radon level in the United States is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi/L; roughly 0.4 pCi/L is normally found in the outside air. The U.S. Congress has set a long-term goal that indoor radon levels be no more than outdoor levels. While this goal is not yet technologically achievable for all homes, radon levels in many homes can be reduced to 2 pCi/L or less. A radon level below 4 pCi/L still poses a risk. Consider fixing when the radon level is between 2 and 4 pCi/L as recommended by theEPA. The radon levels in a home can be reduced to below 4.0 pCi/L regardless of how levels were before remediation.

Most recently, based on four years of research by 100 scientists from 30 countries, the WorldHealth Organization (WHO) recommends that homeowners remediate if one’s indoor radon level exceed 100 becquerels(Bq) which corresponds to 2.7 picocuries per liter- lower than the 4.0 pCi/L action level recommended by the EPA.

Is your home inspector EPA certified? Hopefully not . . . There is no EPA certification for radon measurement providers yet still many radon testers advertise that they are EPA certified. TheAmerican Association of Radon Scientist and technologist - National Radon Proficiency Program(AARST-NRPP) or The National Radon Safety Board (NRSB) are the only organizations recognized by the EPA for certifying radon measurement professionals. Certification is only required by one of these organizations as it can only be attained after completion of an extensive16-hour course along with a passing score on a complex examination. The EPA withholds funding from states that do not promote professionals certified by these organizations. These certifications must be carried in regulated states such as Pennsylvania, Virginia and New Jersey.Is your tester certified? A certified tester can be found by following this link: http://aarst-nrpp.com/wp/certification/database-search/ or http://www.nrsb.org/find_a_professional.asp.

Home Land Environmental’ s Lab Director, Kevin Barnaba, is a certified radon measurement provider who oversees all of the radon testing completed in house. This certification is required in Pennsylvania and additional Home Land Environmental Inspectors are seeking this certification. Many steps are taken to ensure that all of the radon tests we conduct are carefully controlled to prevent inaccuracies from occurring. Machines are calibrated annually by a third-party calibration agency to ensure accurate results. Our equipment includes a built-in motion detector to help determine if tampering occurred during a test. We enforce closed building conditions during the testing period by installing tamper tape on all windows and doors on the level where the measurement device is located. Duplicate testing is also completed throughout the year to ensure accurate results. Home Land Environmental brings these standards into Maryland although they are only required in our Pennsylvania market.

At the completion of every test we perform, our Lab Director analyzes all the information our monitors have gathered within the continuous 48-hour period. Reports are sent within 24 hours including a graph that includes a description of the analysis. The graph is a vital piece of the report as it shows evidence of any tampering that was attempting during the testing period. The graph can also indicate if the test was affected by a low-pressure system in the area. By reviewing these graphs, we can determine if a retest is needed in order to produce accurate results. We pride ourselves on the speed and accuracy with which we deliver our reports and are more than willing to answer any questions that arise regarding our findings.

Below is a map (Figure 2) indicating the measured levels of radon in the air throughout the different counties in Maryland. The red areas suggest higher levels of radon in the air compared to the yellow or white zones. If your property falls into any zone that concerns you, we suggest getting a radon test. When thinking about the monthly cost of cancer vs. the one-time cost of a radon test, there is no reason not to test your property for radon. Radon is less prevalent in coastal areas, such as the lower Eastern Shore, due to the limited amount of rock in the soil.

Beyond radon there are other impurities that may threaten the quality of the air in your home. Home Land Environmental offers a class to help you understand and control common pollutants that are indoors so that health concerns may be reduced. The course outline and instructor are pre-approved through The Maryland Real Estate Commission. We are actively scheduling additional dates and location. Contact jessica@homelandhealthyhomes.com for more information.

Works Cited:

1: EPA’s Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon -- http://homelandhealthyhomes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/HLE_PA_EPABuyerSeller.pdf

2: Dieguez, G., Ferro, C., & Pyenson, B. S. (2017). A Multi-Year Look at the Cost Burden ofCancer Care, 1-24. Retrieved February 8, 2018, from http://us.milliman.com/uploadedFiles/insight/2017/cost-burden-cancer-care.pdf

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