Frequently Asked Questions

 

I have a granite counter top in my kitchen. Can I put a test kit on top of it to test it for radon?
Placing a radon test device on top of a counter top is not a viable test of the radon concentration that a home’s occupants are exposed to. The radon gas emanating from granite counter tops is diluted a very short distance (within inches) away from the emanation point. In addition, many variables are involved in measuring the radon concentration contribution from granite counter tops, including the volume of the home, number of air exchanges in a given amount of time, etc., that will affect the radon concentration that occupants are exposed to in the home. The measurement is difficult, expensive and must be conducted and interpreted by trained health physics personnel.
Granite counter tops are generally in the two areas that are not recommended for testing if utilizing activated charcoal test devices: bathrooms and kitchens, as the moisture in these areas compete for adsorption space on the charcoal resulting in erroneous test results.
The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health recommends that all homes in Nevada be tested for radon. Currently there is no indication of any significant contribution to indoor radon concentrations from granite counter tops. Therefore, testing should be done in the lowest lived-in level of the home. If radon concentrations are elevated, further investigation may be warranted, but as a general rule, mitigation of the soil source of the radon results in the greatest radon concentration reduction and is the most cost effective means of protecting your family’s health.
What is National Radon Action Month?
January is National Radon Action Month, the time when EPA coordinates with state radon programs and other public and private sector partners to conduct special radon outreach activities and events across the country. The aim of National Radon Action Month is to increase the public’s awareness of radon, promote radon testing and mitigation, and advance the use of radon-reducing new construction practices.

EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General urge all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes for radon.

For more information on National Radon Action Month visit the EPA’s National Radon Action Month Web site.

What is the average level of radon found in homes in the U.S.?
Based on a national residential radon survey completed in 1991, the average indoor radon level is about 1.3 picocuries per liter (pCi/l) in the United States. The average outdoor level is about 0.4 pCi/l.
Are funds available to reduce high radon levels in rental housing?
There are some federal programs that might be used to help fund radon reduction in homes that are affordable to limited income families. These programs generally give money to local agencies or groups, which then fund the work. Some examples are:

  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program – funds rehabilitation and repair of affordable housing. For more information, call the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at (202) 708-3587.
  • “203k” program – funds rehabilitation and repair of single family homes. For more information, call HUD at (202) 708-2121.
I’m buying a house.  Should I have it tested for radon?
The EPA recommends that all houses, regardless of what radon zone the house is located in, be tested for radon during point of sale.  The most common procedure for radon testing during real estate transactions is for the potential buyers to request the radon test as part of the overall home inspection.  The radon test is generally a separate service and must be requested.  If the radon test is 4 pCi/L or greater , the  EPA recommends the potential buyer negotiate with the seller to have a radon mitigation system installed with  the stated goal of bringing the radon level in the home below 4pCi/L.

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