Radon and Lung Cancer – What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You When Buying a Home

Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers in the United States. As a Certified Property Inspector and Radon tester, I am seeing that most new home buyers are unaware of the dangers of Radon. As a result of this lack of information, most home buyers as well as current homeowners are not having their homes tested for Radon. In many cases, my clients have also been misinformed by real estate representatives or the media regarding both the prevalence and lung cancer dangers of radon. Radon testing if done by the homeowner, is inexpensive, and takes only 48 hours.

Here are some important facts about Radon that homeowners and renters should know to protect the health of your family. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Visit cheec.uiowa.edu/misc/radon.html for more on a study by Dr. William Field on radon-related lung cancer in women.

Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. The type of construction, foundation or location does not prevent a Radon problem. Its presence in a home can pose a danger to a familys health. The only way to determine if a home has a Radon problem is to have an EPA standardized test done. This test can be completed by the homeowner or a certified professional.

The U.S. Surgeon General and EPA recommend that all homes be tested for radon. All homes can be fixed if there is a radon problem found. The average cost of a radon fix for a home is about $1,200. Some home improvement stores sell inexpensive test kits for about $35 (which includes an EPA certified lab report). However, Consumer Reports recently found that those test kits were not very accurate. Therefore, if you want to do your own testing contact your state radon office for a better quality inexpensive test kit.

If the homeowner or buyer/seller does not or cannot to do the Radon testing (some states require a professional complete the test during a real estate transaction), visit the National Environmental Health Association Radon Certification website at: radongas.org/radon_measurement_service.shtml This site has properly certified radon testers as myself listed by the cities in your state.

The untimely deaths of Peter Jennings and Dana Reeve have raised public awareness about lung cancer, especially among people who have never smoked. Smoking, radon, and secondhand smoke are the leading causes of lung cancer. Although lung cancer can be treated, the survival rate is one of the lowest for those with cancer. In many cases lung cancer can be prevented; this is especially true for radon.

EPA has designated January as National Radon Action Month, a time when state radon programs and other partners conduct special radon outreach activities and events across the country. The aim of National Radon Action Month is to increase the public’s awareness of radon, promote radon testing and mitigation, and advance the use of radon-resistant new construction practices.

For more information on Radon and home inspections or to contact the author, please visit: http://www.gpinspect.com

Steve Zivolich, is an ASHI Certified Inspector and owner of Guaranteed Property Inspection and Mold Investigation in Southern California. He is also certified in: Radon, Mold, Energy Efficiency and Asbestos testing and investigations.

Author: Steve Zivolich
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Radon And Real Estate – Know The Facts And Fear Not

Concerned about buying or selling a home with Radon? You’ll find no need to worry if you educate yourself with the facts. Radon is found all over the United States, and one home can show a reading while the house next door shows nothing. From a real estate perspective, buyers can consider it a plus if a mitigation system is already in place, because that means the house has been tested, and fixed, and there’s no mystery. On the flip side, sellers can confidently let potential buyers see the radon results of a house, along with any mitigation, in a positive light, because information is more honorable than ignorance. I figure the good karma alone would pay off…

Radon is a radioactive gas found in soil and rock, formed by the decay of uranium, which is a natural process. Radon gas is invisible, with no odor or taste. Statistics say that radon hasn’t been shown to negatively affect home sales, but after my own experience of having the option to buy a house with radon, I wondered if that statistic was really true. I didn’t want to buy a “cancer-causing radon house” but that was a very uneducated and closed end thought. Ironically, I was ready and willing to buy a house that didn’t even mention radon at all. Of course, it had to finally occur to me, “What if this other house has radon too, and it’s just never been tested?”

In retrospect, our situation made me think that the psychology of not mentioning it at all could be pretty slick, and affective, but only initially. The truth is, there are still many people who – innocently – don’t consider it an important part of buying or selling a home; it simply doesn’t occur to them. There are many who even consider radon a scam entirely. However, out of respect and consideration for the market, it would probably be wise to have test results on hand.

Would you rather know, or choose ignorance? I’d rather know, particularly if a house had a high level that needed to be addressed with mitigation. An extremely high level, like 20 pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter) might spook me a little, but my chances of getting lung cancer even then (without mitigation) would only be 36 out of 1000, and that’s IF I were exposed over a lifetime. Statistics say that a level of 20 pCi/L would cause lung cancer to 260 out of 1000 people if they were exposed to that level for a lifetime AND they also smoked cigarettes. So obviously the level is hugely reduced for non-smokers, but we all know that smoking is its own risk anyway.

Human nature doesn’t typically want to think about risks and our emotional interpretation of them with numbers, charts and comparisons. Any one of us could still get hit by a bus tomorrow, right? Still, information offers wisdom, and to make a decision as a home buyer, you should take a look at the numbers with a mitigation system in place so you can at least see that there’s no need for extensive fear.

Mitigation systems can reduce whatever level of radon that is present down to 2 to 4 pCi/L. Because of the very definition of radon, the EPA can’t say that they consider any level safe, but they do say that 2 to 4 pCi/L is acceptable, with minimal risks. If mitigation lowers radon to an acceptable level, the EPA says your chances of getting lung cancer are only about 5 in 1000. With lower numbers like that, one realizes that walking or living in pollution over a lifetime could just as easily have ramifications too, like a dozen or more other factors. Okay, so, “Warning: being alive will kill you one day.” No big surprise there.

It’s nothing to make fun of, but very low levels of radon need not be perceived as alarms that make home buyers run for the hills. Humans have been living with varying amounts of radon in the earth and air for a long time, completely oblivious to it for the most part. It fluctuates with warm and cold, damp and dry conditions, and furthermore, there are worse things in the world that can be just as hazardous to our health, if not more so. Don’t become phobic, but stop and think about the chemistry, biology and toxins all over our environments; some of our cleaning products, molds, pesticides, pets, and even food choices… Heaven help us if we over-analyze “indoor pollution” and “what’s in that dust?”

Here are some things to consider, just to make sure you’re informed and have no unnecessary fears or misconceptions.

How long might you live in the house? Some people buy a house to live in for a lifetime while others know that they will want to take it up a notch in 5 or so years. Radon’s health risks are charted to show how a person’s health would be affected over a lifetime of exposure; this is probably equivalent to 20 years or more. The risk for only 5 to 10 years of exposure would likely show lower risks than the EPA’s “over a lifetime” chart.

According to the EPA, the average indoor radon level is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi/L. If you buy a home that hasn’t been tested at all, consider that this average exists.

Yes, radon is a hazard, but it can be fixed. Have confidence in mitigation systems, and if you have any doubt, contact the National Radon Hotline at 1-800-SOS RADON to ask if there are mitigation professionals in your area that can check the system. If they can’t tell you, they can at least give you the number to your state’s radon office so you can find out about trained mitigation contractors in your area.

Study the Environmental Protection Agency’s website (www.epa.gov) to find many consumer resources, including information about radon and health, and how various mitigation systems work.

If you’re in love with a house that you want to buy, don’t hesitate to ask the seller to test for radon, even though it may take some extra time. If the score shows radon above the “acceptable” level, know that mitigation can either be requested as a contingency in your offer, or you can try to get a fair reduction on the price of the house to accommodate your cost of adding mitigation.

Suggestion to sellers: test your house and make sure you’re ready to show test results if a prospective buyer asks about radon. If needed at all, you can either have mitigation installed in order to offer a safer home for sale, or be prepared to lower your asking price accordingly. (Not by much, roughly $500 to $2000). There’s a very good chance that a buyer will appreciate the knowledge or action taken pre-sale. Only the uneducated will shy away, so it would be helpful to have a few informative brochures readily available.

Simply put, houses with radon can be fixed, and doing so doesn’t cost an arm and a leg – no more than a medium to low-cost home repair. Fear not. If you want to buy a house because it feels like home, and the deal is ripe and full of potential, don’t miss out on it due to uninformed (or misinformed) fears about radon. Refer to http://www.radon.com or the EPA’s website to find out more about test kits and contacting your state’s radon office; be educated, so you can make a smart decision on buying, or take responsible, if not considerate, action as a seller.

Author: Angela Cravens
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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The Top 5 Ways to Keep Radon Out of Your Family’s Home

1. Get a radon test performed
Testing homes and businesses for radon is one of the best ways to tell how much radon is coming into your home through cracks and crevices. A radon test tells you numerically what the risk in your home is. And since our kids, pets and ourselves breathe radon gas in and out constantly, it makes sense that more and more people are getting the test done to make sure there is as little radon in their home as possible. After all, if you could prevent lung cancer, wouldn’t you?

2. Get a professional opinion
Even if you buy a home radon test kit yourself, getting a professional opinion is always a good idea. The reason is that first, a radon kit must be done scientifically. Any moving air, pets or kids going by can skew the test results so it’s best to have your results verified by a professional radon mitigation contractor. Plus, they know tricks and things to look out for because they work to get rid of radon all the time. Most of us don’t have that expertise and knowledge to work off of.

If needed, radon mitigators will advise you on what measures can be taken to rid your home of the radioactive gas. They can tell you what needs to be done specifically to make your home and family less susceptible to the effects of radon gas.

3. Re-test your home
Any responsible radon mitigation professional will test your home for an initial radon reading. But, the best radon experts will perform checkups on your home’s levels to ensure your home’s radon levels are still safe. This is much like a scientific experiment, where the scientists will take measurements before and after the “action” has taken place. This allows them to provide a numerical value to represent the radon changes in your home. This matters because it dictates whether anything needs to be done to the home, to get the radon readings as low as possible.

4. Seal it up
A common practice homeowners and contractors will take on is to seal the home’s cracks to keep radon out. This helps because it cuts down the amount of air that passes in and out of the home. The only issue with this is that homes are chock full of cracks and crevices and it’s almost impossible to make sure they are all sealed. Even if you did seal 100% of them, radon could still be present in the home. This is why crack sealing is a great complement to other radon mitigation practices but should not be the only line of defense.

5. Get a radon detector
As the dangers of radon are now talked about more than years past, companies have made radon detectors easier for homeowners to find and use. Radon detectors can help alert you to high radon levels in a home. There are both short-term and long-term detectors available on the market. Radon detectors are a great way to get an immediate reading on your home or office and can also be used after radon mitigation to ensure that levels are consistent – if something changes in the amount of radon, the detector should detect that and give a different reading.

If you’re looking for a radon mitigation professional in your area to perform radon gas testing in your home, you should contact National Radon Defense. It’s a network of radon business professionals that you can trust.

Author: Marianne Snyder
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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How to Protect Your Family From Radon Gas

Number one cause of cancer
It’s common knowledge that smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer and it makes sense. With all the chemicals flowing through the lungs consistently each and every day, the chemicals cause regular cells to mutate into cancer cells and then they spread throughout the body.

Radon causes lung cancer
The same principle follows with the second leading cause of lung cancer, which is radon gas. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) radon kills 21,000 people by way of lung cancer each year. About 2,900 of those people were not even smokers. Radon can also be found naturally in drinking water, which is another way it enters our bodies.

Radon gas can be found everywhere naturally. But it’s especially found in enclosed spaces like mines, homes, and basements. It’s a gas no human can smell or see, which makes it dangerous because there’s no way to know for sure that you have a radon problem just by smelling it or looking for it. To put this into perspective of how dangerous radon gas can be to your health, the third leading cause of lung cancer is second-hand smoke.

The most threatening side effect of radon gas is lung cancer. It is the only physical malady proven to be linked to radon exposure. According to the EPA, smokers have an even higher risk of getting lung cancer when exposed to radon because they have more carcinogens passing through their lungs at a consistent rate.

Since the gas permeates our lives quite literally, we are constantly breathing it in and out with each breath. The gas is both inside and outside as it comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in our soil and water. Radon is a form of radiation, which may be why it affects us like other radiation forms do. Since the gas is all around us, we have to be vigilant about watching the gas levels in the spaces we inhabit.

The quick fix
Testing for radon levels is the easiest way to find out if you have radon gas in your office or home. Testing kits can be found at hardware stores or online and you can set them up. You will need to follow the instructions very carefully so test results are not skewed however.

Another option is to have a radon mitigation contractor do a radon reading at your home to see what levels of the gas are present. This is a great value because the contractor can also tell you how to best keep radon out of your home or office. Whether your test results come back with high levels or low levels, they can give you tips on how to best protect yourself and family from the gas. If you do end up needing a radon mitigation system, a certified radon contractor will be able to complete the job correctly. Doing it yourself could save you money initially but the chances are high that at some point a contractor will need to come in to get the radon levels as low as possible.

The radon reading catch
The EPA recommends that buildings with 4 pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter) or more take action and have the building mitigated for radon. The difficulty with this is that many people then think levels lower than 4pCi/L are safe.

The reality is though, is that even at a level of 1.3 oCi/L in a building, 2 out of 1,000 people may still get lung cancer. As a country we still do not understood enough about radon and the risk it poses to each of us. This means the best way to protect ourselves is to go on the offensive against radon.

The take home message here is, radon can still harm you, even with only small amounts. This isn’t being written as a scare tactic, but to make people aware of what radon can do, so they can protect themselves and their family.

To test your home or office for radon gas, find a professional who does radon gas testing today.

Marianne Snyder writes about home improvement topics like energy efficiency, basement waterproofing and crawl space repair.

Author: Marianne Snyder
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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