Case study: Helping Jack and Carl in San Fransisco



March 22, 2023

Carl brought home a few Airthings sensors that he purchased for use in a large office building in San Francisco to precalibrate and test them locally before installation. It may have saved the lives of Carl Black, Jack the Dog, and his family, but also four neighboring families.

- On a daily basis, I am chief engineer and responsible for the operation of a large office building in San Francisco. I bought the sensors to monitor the indoor environmental parameters in this building, but I took them home with me to test and calibrate them in a slightly smaller environment first, says Carl Black.

Got an alarm

The property he operates is 600 California Street, a Class “A” Office Building located in the Financial District of San Francisco, California. The building, which has 25 floors and a total of close to 500,000 square feet, demands a lot of his time.

- I bought two Space Radon which I installed in April last year, but since there was so much going on at work, they were forgotten. Until in September, five months after I installed them, I suddenly got an alarm in the Airthings Dashboard. It alerted me to sky-high radon levels at home, says Black.


It is a fantastic product for measuring indoor air quality. Not only do the sensors provide immediate data, they also show the trend in the building

Radon is very harmful to health, and high levels over time increase the risk of lung cancer dramatically. Black says the sensors showed extreme radon levels, sometimes as high as 20 pCi/L. Radon at this level can be compared to smoking two packs of cigarettes every day, which carries a significant risk of cancer.

Black didn't quite believe the results and he therefore contacted a professional company that carried out an independent check.

Found radon at the neighbours'

The result was shocking. They concluded that the sensors were right, the radon levels were far too high, with an average of 7.9 pCi/l.

- I would never have found this out had it not been for the sensors from Airthings. I would have continued living in the residence ignorant of the danger I was exposing myself, my wife and my dog, Jack, too. Thanks to the Space Radon sensors, this was discovered. I am therefore so grateful for this product. It may have saved our lives, says Black.

After finding out about the radon levels in his own home, he went to the neighbours. He lives in a yard with 20 townhouses. After testing the other 19 houses, a further four came back with excessively high radon levels.

- The sensors may therefore not only have saved my life and that of my family, but also four other families, says Black.

He believes the reason for the high radon levels is due to plumbing work in the ground beneath the houses.

- The sensors have not measured high radon levels in the past, so I am reasonably confident that the radon appeared when the sensors alerted me, says Black.

Displays historical data

When the worst of the shock had worn off and Black had collected his thoughts, he took the sensors with him to work, as he had originally intended.

- It is a fantastic product for measuring indoor air quality. Not only do the sensors provide immediate data, they also show the trend in the building, which is very useful. I will therefore eventually use more sensors in the building, says Black.

Black still lives in the house he rents, but he has taken temporary measures to keep the radon levels at an acceptable level.

- I have now placed Airthings sensors at floor level, so that I also have control over the radon level at all times with regard to Jack, my dog. Dogs also get lung cancer, so it is important to me to know that he is not exposed to dangerous levels of radon. What will happen in the future is uncertain, but there is an ongoing case and we will probably have to move out of the home while the radon problem is sorted out, says Black.




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