Radon Testing and Your Health.
Radon gas is a dangerous, airborne toxin that is tasteless, odorless and impossible to detect without conducting a test. When these toxins enter the lungs through the air, they get trapped. The toxins build up over time and may lead to serious health issues, even causing lung cancer. This is why homeowners need to be knowledgeable in how to test for this deadly gas, and how to take action to reduce the problem it should occur.
If a homeowner decides to test their home for radon gas, they first need to acquire a test kit and understand the types: Short-term or Long-term. Both of these test kits are passive devices, which means that they do not need power to function.
Types of Radon Test Kits
Short-Term Test Kits
Short-term radon test kits are the quickest way to test for radon gas presence in the home. Short-term test kits require a test period of 2-7 days. The test kits are either alpha track detectors, charcoal canisters, charcoal liquid scintillation detectors and/or cardboard kits. Since radon gas levels fluctuate from day-to-day due to atmospheric pressure, the EPA suggests that the primary measurements be taken with short-term tests kits, but should testing be required for a longer duration, a different test is needed. You can look for a test kit at a local hardware or home improvement store or online.
Long-Term Test Kits
Long-term radon test kits are different from short-term test kits because they stay in the home for 90 days or more. The long-term test will more likely result in a reading that mirrors the average level of radon gas year-round. Radon gas levels vary depending on the seasons, so the longer the long-term test kit is used the more accurate the reading. When long-term test results come back at 4.0 pCi/L or higher, the EPA advises that homeowners start the process of reducing the levels through radon mitigation.
How to Use Radon Tests
Both kit types should be placed in the lowest level of the home, which is where radon gas is most abundant. While testing, be sure to keep all windows and outside doors closed as much as possible. Also, try to keep the windows and outside doors closed for at least 12 hours before testing to ensure that the test kit’s reading is as precise as possible. Testing during unusual storms or temperature increases or decreases might make the reading different.
Testing is the only way to know if your family is in danger of lifelong health impacts. Radon is a serious, airborne toxin and should be treated appropriately.