What is Radon and Why Does it Matter?
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in the United States for non-smokers. Lung cancer is usually not discovered until its later stages, and radon-induced lung cancer kills an estimated 21,800 people every year. Radon is a radioactive element that is a product of uranium decay. It is an invisible, odorless gas found naturally in rocks and soils that rises to the surface to be released. Radon gas can enter your home through cracks in the foundation and become trapped, accumulating over time. The levels of radon can vary from house to house.
Pennsylvania is estimated to have some of the highest radon levels in the world - an estimated 40% of PA homes have radon levels above Environmental Protection Agency's action guideline of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). A pCi is a unit of measurement for the rate of radon’s radioactive decay over time. The average radon level in a Pennsylvania basement is 7.0 pCi/L while the average of first floors in PA is 3.5 pCi/L. The EPA strongly advises homeowners to mitigate radon at 4 pCi/L. However, it is recommended to take action for 2 - 4 pCi/L because, as scientists have supported, there is not a truly safe level of radon to remain in a building.
Protect your family by monitoring your radon NOW
The first step to ridding your home of the radioactive gas is to test for it. Weather, temperature, and general barometric pressure can affect radon levels, so it is best to test in the winter months. A home can do short term (1 week) and long term (1-3 months) testing using continuous radon monitors. Protect PT has a radon testing program for free for residents within Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.
Protect PT’s Radon Air Monitoring Program (RAMP)
Protect PT wants to offer the opportunity to participate in free radon testing. RAMP will consist of working with Protect PT to install radon monitors in the lowest habitable level of your home, usually the basement. The testing monitor will run for a short term period first. We can extend the time period based on the results from the first session. After determining the average day and night radon levels, we will work with you on how to move to the next phase of mitigation or occasional follow-up monitoring. Chad Clair is Protect PT’s Environmental Scientist. Please use the following contact information for any questions and participation in RAMP.