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Here’s why you should have your home tested for radon.

Tyler Merson
Tyler Merson January 29th, 2022

January is Radon Awareness month, and while I don’t think people should be alarmed, if you haven’t had your home tested for radon, you should.

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 in a way that causes the beginning of lung cancer.

person with radon testing apparatus madison nj

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.

Testing your home for radon is easy, and homes with high levels of radon can be fixed (mitigated). The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recommends that all homes be tested for radon.

Homeowners can test for radon themselves or hire a New Jersey-certified radon measurement company to perform the testing. Some certified radon measurement companies sell test kits, and test kits are often available in hardware stores or from local health departments. A list of certified companies, including companies that can mail you a “do-it-yourself” test, is available through the NJDEP Radon Program’s Information Line, (800)648-0394, or website, www.njradon.org.

If you do find that your home has higher than acceptable levels of radon, the good news is that it can be remedied. The basic strategy is to provide a negative-pressure channel for the radon to more easily enter and exit the home – usually a 4″ PVC pipe with an in-line fan that runs from under the basement floor and out through an exterior wall or the roof.

You can read more about radon testing and mitigation here and here.