Not enough people are taking radon gas seriously. We have discovered that there are a lot of myths and lies going around about radon so we wanted to put the record straight with these top 10 myths about radon that everyone must know.
It is essential that you know the truth about radon gas and how it can affect your health. We will also put to bed myths about radon testing and fixing a radon problem if the levels are too high in your home. So let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Top 10 Myths About Radon Everyone Must Know
1. There are No Health Risks with Radon Gas
If you know anything about radon gas you may be surprised to hear this myth. The thing is that there are quite a number of scientists and laypeople that have questioned and are still questioning if radon is harmful to health.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has published many studies and warnings about the health risks associated with radon gas. In 1995 Dr. Bernard Cohen, a scientist from America, challenged the EPA by claiming that while high levels of radon can cause cancer there is no need to believe that lower levels can put people at risk.
The WHO (World Health Organization) analyzed Dr. Cohen’s findings and they found fundamental problems with the way that the scientist went about his study. They found some flaws in the methods used.
The EPA is not the only organization to go public on the health risks of radon gas. The American Medical Association, the Center for Disease Control, and the American Lung Association all conclude that radon poses a health risk. So from all of this, it is reasonable to say that there are health risks with radon.
2. It is too expensive and takes too long to conduct a Radon Test
This is not true at all. There are basically three ways that you can test for radon gas in your home:
- Get a home test kit
- Use an active radon detector device
- Hire a professional to test the radon levels in your home
You can purchase a home radon test kit for as little as $15. These are normally short-term kits so you only need a few days to test and then you send the test to a laboratory that will send you back the results.
Quick and cheap testing like this is a good place to start. It will certainly tell you if the radon gas levels in your home are currently too high. Radon levels do change over time though and the best way to test is to use an active digital radon tester.
With a radon tester, you can test for a few days or several months. You will get an average reading as well as a short-term one. If you hire a professional radon tester then this is going to cost at least $250. The test is short term and they use the most accurate equipment.
So you can test for radon inexpensively and quickly.
3. If you find high levels of Radon you can’t fix it
This is another radon myth that makes no sense but a lot of people seem to believe. If they believe this then they are not going to conduct a test because they think that there is nothing they can do if high levels they detect high levels of radon.
You certainly can do something about high levels of radon gas in your home. In fact, there are a few things that you can do to mitigate radon. There are radon mitigation systems you can install and you can also caulk foundation issues where radon is penetrating your home.
So the bottom line is that you can do something about high levels of radon in your home.
4. Not all Homes need to be concerned about Radon
We are not sure where this one comes from. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from the ground. So any type of home can have high levels of radon. There are a number of different factors that determine radon levels such as atmospheric conditions and soil type.
The other thing to consider is the type of materials used in the construction of your home as well as how structurally sound it is. So it doesn’t matter what type of home you have it can experience high levels of radon.
5. certain States do not need to worry about Radon
There are some websites that will tell you that certain states need to worry more about radon than others. OK, it is true that some areas of the country have more radon and others have less but it doesn’t mean that if you live in an area that has less radon you can just forget about it.
As explained before levels of radon depend on factors such as atmospheric conditions, construction materials, and soil. So no matter where you live you can experience high levels of radon in your home.
6. If your Neighbor doesn’t have Radon nor do you
You can probably understand why so many people believe this but it isn’t true. There was a study conducted by the National Institute of Health which showed ground permeability and soil composition are significant factors with radon. These things are specific to every homeowner’s plot of land.
And just because a neighbor’s home is on the same plot of soil there are other factors too such as home construction differences and cracks in foundations. So just because your neighbor doesn’t have high levels of radon does not mean that you don’t.
7. Just perform a Water Radon Test
Some people will tell you that all you need to do is perform a water radon test. There is nothing wrong with this and you should do it but we recommend that you perform a radon air test first.
Most homes will obtain their water from a public utility and they should be reporting their radon levels anyway so that you can see them. OK if you have a private well then you probably need to perform a radon water test.
But please understand this. Radon gas in the air is a lot more hazardous to your health than radon found in water. So always test for radon in the air as a priority. It is so easy to test the radon in the air with a home test kit. A radon water test is probably unnecessary if you get your water from a public utility.
8. Selling your Home will be more difficult if there is a history of Radon
There is a myth doing the rounds that claim if your home has a history of radon issues then it will be difficult or even impossible to sell it. If you believe this myth what will you do? Do you fix the problem or try to deceive the buyer by not taking any action?
We would always recommend fixing the problem. If you have taken steps to fix a high radon gas level problem and this worked well then you are likely to add value to your home. Real estate agents confirm that a structural fix to mitigate radon levels will either have a neutral or positive effect on the salability of your home.
Nowadays smart buyers are requesting radon tests be performed on a home before they purchase it. These kinds of myths can do a lot of damage as the temptation will be to sell your home quickly and let someone else sort it out. Fixing a radon issue in your home will not mean that you will have difficulty selling it afterward. In fact, the opposite is more likely.
9. I have lived in my Home for years so what’s the point?
In our opinion, this is the most dangerous radon myth of them all. Unfortunately, a lot of people tend to believe this. They think “well if I have been exposed to radon all these years then it has probably done what it is going to do”. Worse still is the thought that you may have built up some kind of immunity to radon if you have lived in your home for years.
It is never too late to perform a radon test in your home. The National Cancer Institute tells us that long-term exposure to radon can cause lung cancer. They don’t specify how many years of “long term” is because this will be different for everyone.
Myths like this lead to complacency and inaction. Don’t believe this. Perform a radon test on your home now. If there are high levels detected then you can do something about it to protect yourself, your family your pets, and your home.
10. Short Term Radon Tests are never enough
We have heard this one many times. A short-term test is better than no test at all and if you perform more than one short-term test then this can certainly be enough to determine if you have a radon issue in your home or not.
In fact, the website Radon.com recommends that you perform two short-term radon tests and this will be sufficient to take any necessary action to mitigate high radon levels. The threshold for radon is 4 pCi/L and if one of the tests exceeds this level then you need to take action.
Conducting two radon tests that are below the threshold doesn’t mean that you will be safe from radon forever. We would always recommend that you invest in an active radon tester who monitors radon levels continuously because levels can change at any time. It doesn’t mean that short-term tests are a waste of time though.
So there you have it. 10 radon myths that are common and we want you to ignore. Radon is a silent killer and is responsible for many deaths each year. It is not worth taking the chance and saving a few dollars. Test your home for radon today.