Top 10 Myths and Facts About Radon


July 18, 2023

This article researches the top 10 myths and facts about radon, from examining the claims of scientists who say radon is not dangerous to the question of whether short-term tests are enough to take action against radon.

Myth 1: Radon isn’t dangerous

Fact: Radon is a hazardous, naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep into homes and buildings from the ground. Long-term exposure to elevated radon levels is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. While there have been claims against radon's danger in the past, various reputable organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Lung Association, and the American Medical Association all recognize radon's harmful effects on human health.

Myth 2: Radon tests are expensive

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Fact: Radon testing is now more accessible and affordable than ever. Accurate digital radon detectors like the Airthings Corentium Home or View Radon which last for years can be purchased for just over $100. These monitors provide a reliable radon level reading after 30 days of continuous monitoring and allow you to monitor your levels all year round as they are likely to fluctuate. While it may be tempting to get a charcoal test which is usually around $40-50, these tests are more like a snapshot of your radon levels, and not continuous readings like the ones provided by digital detectors. 

Myth 3: You can’t solve radon problems in all homes

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Contrary to the myth, radon problems can be addressed in most homes. Approximately 6% of homes have radon levels that require mitigation. Various solutions, such as sealing foundation faults or installing radon mitigation systems, can effectively reduce radon concentrations in homes. According to the National Radon Program Services, virtually any home can be fixed or reduce its radon levels.

Myth 4: Only some types of homes need to worry about radon

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Fact: Radon levels are not influenced by the type of home construction. Radon primarily depends on factors such as soil composition, atmospheric conditions, and construction materials. All types of homes, regardless of their architectural style, are equally susceptible to radon infiltration from the ground.

Myth 5: You only need to worry about radon if you live in certain areas of the country

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Fact: While certain regions may have higher natural radon levels, the presence of radon is not limited to specific areas. Radon levels can vary significantly even within the same neighborhood. It is essential for all homeowners to test for radon regardless of the region they live in to ensure their safety.

Myth 6: Radon tests from a neighbor's house are accurate indications of radon in your own home

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Fact: Radon levels can vary widely between neighboring homes due to factors like soil composition and home construction. Relying on a neighbor's radon test is not a reliable method for assessing radon levels in your own home. Conducting individual radon tests tailored to your property is crucial for accurate results.

Myth 7: All homeowners should conduct water radon tests

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Fact: Radon testing is essential, but water radon tests should follow air radon tests. Public water supplies are typically tested for radon levels, but private well owners may consider water radon testing. However, the primary concern is airborne radon, which is more hazardous than waterborne radon.

Myth 8: Selling a home that has a history of radon is difficult

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Fact: If radon issues have been addressed and radon mitigation systems have been implemented or installed successfully, it can increase the home's value and make it more attractive to potential buyers. Real estate agents often emphasize that resolved radon problems have a neutral or even positive impact on the home's saleability.

Myth 9: Having lived in my house for many years it wouldn’t matter if I started radon testing now

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Long-term exposure to radon is a concern, and it is never too late to take action. The longer the exposure, the higher the health risks. The National Cancer Institute highlights the importance of addressing high radon levels promptly to protect against potential health hazards.

Myth 10: Short-term radon tests are enough to make a decision about taking action to fix radon in your home

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Fact: Short-term tests can be an initial indicator of potential radon issues. Two short-term tests conducted simultaneously can even provide more reliable results. However, these tests are still only short snapshots of your radon levels throughout the year. Last year, we showed in our Air Report: Radon edition, that radon levels can fluctuate with the seasons. Most commonly radon levels are higher in winter months. \

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