There seems to be a lot of confusion about radon and the importance of testing. Here we have listed out some myths and facts behind them. Here you can quickly answer some of the questions and myths associated with radon.
MYTH: I’m safe because I don’t spend much time in my basement.
If your furnace or duct runs are located in your basement or crawlspace, anytime the furnace fan runs for either heat or air conditioning, the radon level on the first floor is often the same as it is in the basement or crawlspace. Staying out of the basement doesn’t matter if your furnace fan is running even occasionally.
MYTH: Radon is naturally occurring so it must be safe.
Radon IS naturally occurring and so are earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, lightning, volcanoes, avalanches and mudslides. On average, radon kills more people every year than all of those combined.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is another naturally occurring gas (caused by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels not radioactive decay). But just like radon, you can't see, smell or taste it. Again, natural doesn't make it safe. Grizzly bears and rattlesnakes are natural too... but just like radon and carbon monoxide, you don’t want them in your house.
MYTH: I already have a radon monitor in my home and it says I'm safe.
Some people mistakenly think that carbon monoxide monitors or smoke detectors measure radon. Every home should have both but they can't detect radon. On average, residential fires kill 2,800 Americans every year. Carbon monoxide deaths in the home average 235 per year. Radon, still at 21,000 deaths a year.
MYTH: My home is new so I can’t have a radon problem.
Many newer homes have higher radon levels than older ones because they now design homes to have better porosity in the soil around the house. This is done for moisture control but the result is easier flow for the radon gas to be drawn in. It doesn’t matter how old your home is, if there is the right amount of radium in the soil and there is a way to get in, you may have a serious problem.
MYTH: My neighbors home tested fine so I must be safe.
You can never rely on your neighbor’s radon results as a comparison to yours. Even identical homes in the same development, next door to each other, built at the same time by the same builder can be 100 times higher or lower than your house. There can even be a huge difference in just one side of a duplex or attached townhome. That is why every residence in America needs to be tested.
MYTH: I live in an area that doesn’t have any radon problems.
Some areas of the country have been shown to have lower radon levels on average than others, but serious problems have been found in every State and in many areas that used to be considered low risk.
MYTH: My home is a ________________ style so I won’t have a problem.
The style of the home has very little to do with radon entry. All structures have negative pressures in the lower half of the building no matter how they are built or how they are designed. No particular style of home is more or less likely to have a radon problem including homes of all types: old homes, new homes, drafty homes, insulated homes, homes with basements, and homes without basements.
MYTH: Low-level exposure to radon is harmless.
There is no level of exposure to radiation that is harmless. Human exposure to radiation should be avoided whenever possible. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and every other health agency state that any home with radon levels of 4 pCi/L or greater should be fixed. Period. If your home is 4.0 pCi/L or higher, you should seriously consider fixing it.
MYTH: Homes with radon problems can’t be fixed.
Hundreds of thousands of homeowners have already had their radon problems fixed and more and more families are doing it everyday. Any home can be fixed and the higher the radon level, the faster you should have it fixed.
MYTH: I’ve lived in my home for so long, it doesn’t make sense to take action now.
If you discovered that your family car had been recalled because the wheels could fall off at anytime, would you keep driving it? Of course not. You will reduce your risk of cancer as soon as you reduce your radon levels, even if you’ve lived with a radon problem for a long time.