If you live in the Concordia Neighborhood, there is almost a 50% likelihood that the radon level inside your home is higher than the EPA’s recommended action level potentially putting your family at unnecessary risk of lung cancer.
Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, concentrates inside buildings. Nationally, radon is responsible for 15,000-22,000 lung cancer deaths every year—more deaths than caused by drunk driving and drowning combined. The second leading cause of lung cancer in America, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
According to a Portland State University study, nearly the half the homes (old, new, with or without a crawlspace or basement) in the Concordia Neighborhood have indoor radon levels exceeding EPA’s recommended action level of 4 pCi/L (pico curies per liter of air). That’s the bad news. The good news is that testing for radon is simple and inexpensive and that, when needed, reducing indoor radon to safer concentrations is affordable.
Colorless, odorless and tasteless, radon cannot be sensed. Because testing is the only way to know if a home has a radon problem, the EPA, American Lung Association and Surgeon General recommend that every home be tested for radon.
Measuring radon is easy. Hardware and home improvement stores typically offer short-term (typically 2 to 4 days) and/or long-term (91 to 365 days) measurement kits. Because radon concentrations can fluctuate depending upon weather and other variables, long-term test provides a more accurate assessment of average indoor radon concentrations. Both types of test kits cost $20 to $40, including the laboratory fee. Discounted measurement kit coupons can be found online from the National Safety Board at Follow the instructions carefully and send the kit to lab immediately to ensure accurate test results.
If you are buying a home in Concordia, consider hiring a trained and experienced company to measure the radon level during the inspection period. The cost of professional radon measurement is $150 to $200.
Remodeling and weatherization improvements may increase indoor radon concentrations. Retest your home if you remodel, weatherize your home or significantly alter the HVAC system.
You’ve tested your home and find that you have problem—now what? Most homes with high radon concentrations can be fixed for less than $2,000. The most common way to fix a radon problem is to keep radon from entering the home. Radon mitigation usually involves installing a piping and an inline fan that intercepts the radon underneath the basement floor or in the crawlspace after the crawlspace has been sealed with a gas barrier membrane. The radon laden air is routed around the living space of the home where it is vented into the atmosphere, reducing radon levels inside the home.
Radon is dangerous. Do not cut corners when choosing a contractor to protect your family. Choose a trained and certified mitigation contractor. Protect yourself and make sure your contractor obtains a City of Portland mechanical permit for the mitigation system.
EPA has proclaimed January as National Radon Action Month. Protect your family from radon. Take action today and test your home now.
The owner of EcoTech and a Concordia resident, Don Francis is trained and certified to measure and mitigate radon by the National Environmental Health Association’s Radon Proficiency Program. More radon information is available at www.oregonradon.com or the EPA.