Radon is the by product of Urainium decay. It is a odorless, colorless, tasteless and inert gas. It is found in most soils and rocks. Highest concentrations of radon are found in granite. Radon in the outside air dispereses rapidly and is generally not an issue. It is heavier than air and can collect in low lying places that have poor circulation.
We use a Continous Radon Monitor (CRM) for testing. This CRM is left in place for 2-5 days depending on the circumstances. It is placed in the lowest habitable space in the house. It does not matter if the space is finished or not or if people are living there. Windows and doors need to be kept closed, except for normal coming and going for 12 hours prior to testing and for the duration of the test. Our monitors also check for temperature, barometric pressure and relative humidity during a radon test. It also detects monitor movement.
There are two parts to this question. The first part is get your home tested. If your radon levels are low, you're done. You don't need to do anything else, except every couple years get your home tested again.
Part two is, if your radon levels are above 4 pCi/L you will need to have a radon imtigation system installed in your home. Then every couple years have your home tested to make sure the system is working like it should be.
Breathing radon over time increases your chances of developing lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. About 21,000 people die each year from radon related lung cancer. When radon decays it releases radioactive particles. It is these particles that can cause damage to the DNA of your cells. There is a direct relationship between level of exposure and time exposed, meaning if either one is elevated, your chances of getting lung cancer is elevated also.
It is estamated that between 50-73% of the homes in Colorado have high levels of radon.The state of Colorado is rated a level 1 zone for radon concentration in the soil. This is as high as it gets in the United States. Radon levels can fluxuate greatly from home to home and neighborhood to neighborhood. So, it is improtant to find the level in your home.
Use these links to learn more about radon. Where it comes from, how it effects you and your health and how to protect yourself from it.