Radon Doctor
Radon Mitigation and Testing
"We Save Lives Daily"
  Serving Frederick, Southern Carroll and Eastern Washington Counties in Maryland;
Jefferson and Berkley Counties in West Virginia

Radon Myths and Facts

MYTH: Scientists are not sure that radon really is a problem.

FACT:Although some scientists dispute the precise number of deaths due to radon, all major health organizations (like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Lung Association and the American Medical Association) agree with estimates that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths every year. This is especially true among smokers, since the risk to smokers is much greater than to non-smokers.

MYTH: Radon testing is difficult, time-consuming and expensive.

FACT:Radon testing is easy. You can test your home yourself or hire a qualified radon test company. Either approach takes only a small amount of time and effort.

MYTH: Radon testing devices are not reliable and are difficult to find.

FACT:Reliable testing devices are available from qualified radon testers and companies. Reliable testing devices are also available by phone or mail-order, and can be purchased in hardware stores and other retail outlets. Call your state radon office for help in identifying radon testing companies.

MYTH: Homes with radon problems can't be fixed.

FACT:There are simple solutions to radon problems in homes. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners have already fixed radon problems in their homes. Radon levels can be readily lowered for $800 to $2,500 (with an average cost of $1,200). Call your state radon office for help in identifying qualified mitigation contractors.

MYTH: Radon affects only certain kinds of homes.

FACT:House construction can affect radon levels. However, radon can be a problem in homes of all types: old homes, new homes, drafty homes, insulated homes, homes with basements, and homes without basements. Local geology, construction materials, and how the home was built are among the factors that can affect radon levels in homes.

MYTH: A neighbor's test result is a good indication of whether your home has a problem.

FACT:It's not. Radon levels can very greatly from home to home. The only way to know if your home has a radon problem is to test it.

MYTH: Everyone should test their water for radon.

FACT:Although radon gets into some homes through water, it is important to first test the air in the home for radon. If you water comes from a public water supply that uses ground water, call your water supplier. If high radon levels are found and the home has a private well, call the Sage Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 for information on testing your water.

MYTH: It's difficult to sell homes where radon problems have been discovered.

FACT:Where radon problems have been fixed, home sales have not been blocked or frustrated. The added protection is some times a good selling point.

MYTH: I've lived in my home for so long, it doesn't make sense to take action now.

FACT:You will reduce your risk of lung cancer when you reduce radon levels, even if you've lived with a radon problem for a long time.

MYTH: Short-term tests can't be used for making a decision about whether to fix your home.

FACT:A short-term test, followed by a second short-term test* can be used to decide whether to fix your home. However, the closer the average of your two short-term tests is to 4 pCi/L, the less certain you can be about whether your year-round average is above or below that level. Keep in mind that radon levels below 4 pCi/L still pose some risk. Radon levels can be reduced in most homes to 2 pCi/L or below.

Radon Risk Evaluation Chart

pCi/L WL Estimated number of lung cancer deaths due to radon exposure (out of 1000) Comparable exposure levels Comparable risk
200 1 440-770 1000 times outdoor level More than 60 times nonsmoker risk 4 pack-a-day smoker
100 0.5 270-630 100 times average indoor level 20,000 chest x-ray per year
40 0.2 120-380 - 2 pack-a-day smoker
20 0.1 30-120 10 times average indoor level 5 times nonsmoker risk
4 0.02 13-50 - 200 chest x-rays per year
2 0.01 7-30 10 times average outdoor level Nonsmoker risk of dying from lung cancer
1 0.005 3-13 Average indoor level 20 chest x-rays per year
0.2 0.001 1-3 Average outdoor level  

Recommend Action Guidelines
To Reduce Radon Exposure

OBJECTIVE: To reduce radon exposure levels to 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or less, if possible, through corrective action.

Tier If Your Home Measures* Suggested Actions** Time Frame For Action
I. more than 1000 pCi/L Residents should either promptly relocate or undertake temporary remedial action to lower levels as far below 1000 pCi/L as possible. Smoking in high areas discouraged. Within 2-3 days
II. 200 to 1000 pCi/L Residents should undertake temporary remedial action to lower levels as far below 200 pCi/L as possible. Smoking in high areas discouraged. Within 1 week
III. 100 to 200 pCi/L Residents should undertake temporary remedial action to lower levels as far below 100 pCi/L as possible. Within 2 weeks
IV. 20 to 100 pCi/L Residents should undertake temporary remedial action to lower level as far below 20 pCi/L as possible. Higher exposure levels rquire action to be taken in a shorter period of time. 3 weeks to 3 months
V. 4 to 20 pCi/L Residents should undertake temporary and/or permenant remedial action to lower levels below 4.0 pCi/L. Higher exposure levels require action to be taken in a shorter period of time. 4 to 15 months

*Assumes continuous 24-hour exposure in living area.

** Home testing should be conducted at the end of the indicated time frame to determine if remedial action has reduced the radon daughter exposure levels below the indicated value. If remedial action has not been successful, residents should be aware of the risks associated with continuous exposure at the indicated levels.