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What is radon and why is it a concern?

 

Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of naturally occurring uranium in soil and rock. It is invisible, odorless and tasteless, and can only be detected by specialized tests. Radon enters homes through openings that are in contact with the ground, such as cracks in the foundation, small openings around pipes, and sump pits. 


Radon, like other radioactive materials, undergoes radioactive decay that forms decay products. Radon and its decay products release radioactive energy that can damage lung tissue.  The more radon you are exposed to, and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk of eventually developing lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, resulting in 15,000 to 22,000 deaths per year. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers.

Are there certain areas that are more prevalent to radon?

This map indicates the tier levels of radon in the state of New Jersey. However, the levels can be higher than what the map indicates because the gas will take the path of least resistance. Basically, your neighbor's house could have a high level, while your house has a low level, or vice versa.

When do I receive my results and how do I interpret them?

The radon test is placed in the home and must remain untouched for at least 48 hours.  Afterward, we collect the canister and send it to the lab for analytical data.


The test report will give your radon reading in picoCuries per liter (pCi/L). PicoCuries per liter is a measure of how much radiation is in a liter of air, which is about the size of a quart. 


The DEP and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) both recommend that you take action to mitigate your home if your test results indicate radon levels of 4.0 pCi/L of radon or more