October 9, 2012

Radon

As of March 1, 2017, AMEI is no longer certified and registered with the state of Kansas for radon measurement.


What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell or taste, and comes from the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium.  It is usually found in igneous rock and soil, but in some cases, well water may also be a source of radon gas exposure.   Radon can accumulate inside homes or buildings by seeping up through crawlspace soil, sump pits, or through seams or cracks in concrete basement walls.

Why should I be concerned about Radon?  Should I test my property for it?

The US EPA, Surgeon General, American Lung Association, American Medical Association, and National Safety Council recommend testing your home for radon because testing is the only way to measure indoor radon levels.  There are no immediate symptoms that will alert you to the presence of radon.  It typically takes years of exposure before any problems surface.  Testing is recommended every two years, or if a previously unfinished basement or lower level is remodeled for living or other occupied space.

The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today.  Radioactive particles from radon can damage cells that line the lungs and lead to lung cancer.  Scientific studies of radon exposure indicate that children may be more sensitive to radon.  This may be due to their higher respiration rate and their rapidly dividing cells, which may be more vulnerable to radiation damage.

What can be done if a test shows elevated levels of indoor radon?

Indoor radon levels over 4.0 pCi/l (picocaries per liter of air) should be lowered by the installation of a radon mitigation (venting) system, installed by a certified professional.   A properly installed and functioning mitigation system is definitely not a do-it-yourself project!

Kansas now requires that radon measurement technicians and radon mitigation professionals be certified and registered with the Kansas Department of Health & Environment (www.kansasradonprogram.org).  Certification or registration requirements may vary from state to state.

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