How Radon Gas Gets In
The Surgeon General, EPA, Ohio dept. of Health, and your Doctor, all recommend that homes be tested for Radon. Radon Test for a home is $175 (with an inspection), $200. (without an inspection)
Top Reasons to get a radon test?
1) Radioactive Radon Gas harms you. (even at low levels). Exposer to high levels can cause cancer. Click here for more info.
2) Its the only way to know "what levels" your family is being exposed to. (You do not want to live in a "High Radon Level" home).
3) If the home tests "elevated" (4.0+ pCi/L), your agent may be able to negotiate with the seller to install a "radon reduction
system" for the home. (This "system" reduces radon in the home to "safe levels")
4) Northeast Ohio unfortunately has many areas with very "above average levels" of Radon Gas. ~ (see more notes below) ~
* Why is Radon such a problem in Ohio? There are three main reasons for this.
1) Ohio has "higher than average" amounts of Uranium in the earth. (The main source of Radon gas).
2) Unlike more progressive states, Ohio has no requirements for builders to build homes with "radon resistant materials". In many other
areas / states, builders must install what is known as a "passive radon venting system" (a building requirement)..
3) Unfortunately, in our area most builders "do not / or will not" install these systems. Some even go so far as to lie about radon facts, or
have you sign a form, "eliminating them" from doing any Testing, or Radon mitigation, (even if the house tests high). There are a course
a few "better builders" that will not only allow you to test, but will "fix the home" if its test high (over 4.0 pCi/L).
Quick Radon Gas Overview:
* Radon is a naturally occurring, colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that is the #2 cause of lung cancer. It is derived mostly from
the radioactive decay of uranium in the ground and is present everywhere at ground level in very small amounts.
* In our area, there are two main factors than can cause homes, schools, and offices to have elevated levels.
Why should I get a Radon test?
* A Radon test is the only way to tell what the Radon levels are in your home. A test is the only way to tell what levels your family
is exposed to.
* If your in a real estate transaction as a buyer, you will want a Radon test for sure. Why? If your "prospective house" tests as
"high" (Over 4.0 pCi/L) and the test was performed by a "State Licensed Co" (as we are), it becomes a disclosure item on the
house as a "heath hazard". Your agent can then ask for the seller to have "Radon Reduction System" installed in the home.
This "system" fixes the home by bringing radon down to a safe level. (required by the State by the mitigation company)
* Look around your neighborhood, you can many times see parts of radon reduction systems, similar to the one pictured here.
The downsides of "not" doing a test:
* If you choose "not" to do a radon test, you will not know what levels of Radon you are being exposed to in your home.
* If you are buying a house and do not do a test at "purchase time", there are two issues; 1) You of course would not know
what levels are present and your being exposed to. 2) When you go to sell the home down the road, most likely your buyers
will do a radon test. Then if the home test "high", not only will get the bad news that you have been living in high levels but
you will most likely have to "pay" for a radon reduction system for the next owners.
* Note: If you do not make a "radon test" part of your purchase agreement / contract, you could of course just do one of the
inexpensive Radon test kits you can get at local DIY stores. This will at least tell you if there are high levels, but if levels are
high, unfortunately "you" would have to pay to put the reduction system in (Usually around $1,000 to $1,400)
View of the exterior components of a typical Radon Reduction System
The university of Toledo maintains a database for the Ohio Dept. of Health. * Although this data base contains some "complex information" there is some
great basic information about past Radon Tests, by zip code. You can click on the "red link" below to see the entire database but we have listed some of the key information on many of the areas "Past Radon Tests", in the box below.
Note: Homes that test at 4.0 pCi/L or higher are considered hazardous and are recommended for "Radon Mitigation"
As you can see below, most northeast Ohio zip code areas have the potential for "elevated" radon levels. (some areas, very elevated)
Details of all Ohio zip code areas (The Database) can be viewed by clicking here.
* Look at column #1 for the zip code area.
* Look at column labeled (No.) to see how many tests have been done in that zip code.
* Look at column (Max) to see what has been the "highest test" so far, in that zip code area.
* Look at column (AM) to see what the overall average is of all of the tests in that zip code area.
Remember, low tested areas usually have low test numbers, because there has not been enough tests done to find the biggest problem homes. Also, the "average" is always a bit "reduced" because some people will test "higher levels & 2nd floors" of homes. (Normally not needed). With this information added in, it brings the total averages down.
Zip Code / City # of tests done. Highest Test
Listed alphabetical (by city)
44011 (Avon) 1687 55.9
44012 (Avon Lake) 2740 618.2
44001 (Amherst) 888 42.2
44140 (Bay Village) 1490 37.0
44212 (Brunswick) 1304 169.3
44028 (Columbia Station) 190 45.7
44022 (Chagrin Falls) 1630 733.8
44103 (Cleveland) 72 17.7
44101 (Cleveland) 21 21.9
44127 (Cleveland) 44 7.4
44114 (Cleveland) 51 23.0
44115 (Cleveland) 161 14.0
44108 (Cleveland) 118 22.9
44106 (Cleveland) 484 24.9
44135 (Cleveland) 225 55.8
44113 (Cleveland) 312 51.8
44128 (Cleveland) 132 14.5
44120 (Cleveland) 834 15.4
44111 (Cleveland) 444 33.1
44109 (Cleveland) 262 14.4
44102 (Cleveland) 303 24.0
44105 (Cleveland) 144 18.5
44118 (Cleveland Heights) 1721 114.6
44117 (Euclid) 100 23.0
44132 (Euclid) 113 14.8
44035 (Elyria) 791 78.8
44126 (Fairview Park) 695 295.9
44107 (Lakewood) 980 20.5
44060 (Mentor) 1859 221.6
44039 (North Ridgeville) 1256 59.8
44138 (Olmsted Falls) 772 68.4
44129 (Parma) 431 29.3
44134 (Parma) 545 23.1
44130 (Parma Heights) 897 105.0
44143 (Richmond Heights) 900 23.3
44116 (Rocky River) 1103 112.4
44131 (Seven Hills) 765 79.2
44122 (Shaker Heights) 1727 114.6
44139 (Solon) 1674 156.4
44121 (South Euclid) 689 114.6
44136 (Strongsville) 1024 656.2
44149 (Strongsville) 584 174.0
44145 (Westlake) 1962 68.7
44090 (Wellington) 167 28.3
(See full database for info on other zip code areas)
The Database can be viewed by clicking here.
Note: Information shown above is "as off 1-2018"
Common misconceptions about Radon / Radon Testing:
* I was told, there's no Radon in my area. Well, just look at the facts on the left side of the page. There are really no areas in NE Ohio that do not have the potential for, or have elevated Radon levels. Also note, Radon is present everywhere. Even outside areas have very low levels of Radon.
* I don't have a basement so I don't have Radon. It does not matter if the home has a basement or not. Radon will come up through the floor the same in a "slab home", as it would in a typical home with a basement. In fact it is much worse to live in a "slab type home" vs a "basement home" because Radon is a heavy / dense gas. When you live in a home with a basement, the radon builds up to the highest concentrations there. When you live in a "slab home" you live & spend 100% of your time "in" the highest concentrations of Radon.
* This Home is "new / newer" so I don't need to test. It does not matter if a home is 1 day old, or 100 years old. Radon still comes out of the soil. What matters is "what are the levels" in the home and the only way to tell that is with a Radon Test.
* This Home already has a "Radon Mitigation System". Do I still need a test? Even if a home has a radon mitigation system in it, (installed more than two years ago) you should still do a test to verify it is working, and working at a proper level to reduce the radon in the home. The EPA and Ohio dept of health recommends testing every 2 years. Regular testing will ensure that the radon mitigation system is working effectively.
* Our radon test levels came in just under, but close to 4.0 pCi/L. Should I do something? There are varying options on this but one fact remains, Less radon in your home is always better. Both the EPA and Ohio dept of health recommend taking action above 4.0, but for your own peace of mind, you may consider mitigation systems at any significant level of radon. Consult with your radon professional and or doctor for more information / advice. See more details of "radon exposure" below. Click here
Other Info / Radon Facts:
* What is a "picocurie" (pCi)? A pCi is a measure of the rate of radioactive decay of radon. One pCi is one trillionth of a Curie, 0.037 disintegrations per second, or 2.22 disintegrations per minute. Therefore, at 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter, the EPA's recommended action level), there will be approximately 12,672 radioactive disintegrations in one liter of air during a 24-hour period.
* I'm told that if our Radon test comes out at 4.0 pCi/L. or higher, that it is a "legal disclosure" on the home. What does that mean? If a "State of Ohio licensed tester" performed the radon test, and it came out "elevated" ( 4.0 or higher), it means that the "owner" must disclose to a perspective buyer that there is a "Radon heath hazard" in the home. Because of this "disclosure law" most real estate agents will be able no negotiate with the seller to have a radon reduction system installed. That is, if you checked off on your sales contract that you want to make the homes sale subject to a radon test (Just as you would an inspection). Note however, that there is no law "requiring" a homeowner to install a system or fix the home. And also no law that you "have to buy" a home that tests high in Radon levels.
See Information about Radon Heath Risks Below.
Radon Health Risk Facts.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the Surgeon General’s Office have estimated that as many as 20,000 lung cancer deaths are caused each year by radon. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon-induced lung cancer costs the United States over $2 billion dollars per year in both direct and indirect health care costs. (Based on National Cancer Institute statistics of 14,400 annual radon lung cancer deaths – Oster, Colditz & Kelley, 1984)
The alpha radiation emitted by radon is the same alpha radiation emitted by other alpha generating radiation sources such as plutonium.
A family whose home has radon levels of 4 pCi/L is exposed to approximately 35 times as much radiation as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would allow if that family was standing next to the fence of a radioactive waste site. (25 mrem limit, 800 mrem exposure)
An elementary school student that spends 8 hours per day and 180 days per year in a classroom with 4 pCi/L of radon will receive nearly 10 times as much radiation as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows at the edge of a nuclear power plant. (25 mrem limit, 200 mrem exposure)
Most U.S. EPA lifetime safety standards for carcinogens are established based on a 1 in 100,000 risk of death. Most scientists agree that the risk of death for radon at 4 pCi/L is approximately 1 in 100. At the 4 pCi/L EPA action guideline level, radon carries approximately 1000 times the risk of death as any other EPA carcinogen. It is important to note that the action level is not a safe level, as there are no “safe” levels of radon gas.
Radon has more elevated health risks in children:
While radon presents the aforementioned risks in adults, exposure in children leads to a unique set of health hazards that are still being researched. The physical composition of children leads to faster rates of exposure through inhalation given that their respiratory rate is higher than that of adults, resulting in more gas exchange and more potential opportunities for radon to be inhaled. In addition to this potentially higher dose of radon inhalation, children have smaller lungs, which can become damaged much more quickly than adults’ lungs. For example, children who are exposed to radon and who live in a household where they are exposed to tobacco smoke have a 20 times greater risk of developing lung cancer.
The National Radon Action Plan:
The National Radon Action Plan, also known as NRAP, was created in 2014 and launched in 2015. It is led by The American Lung Association with collaborative efforts from the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists, American Society of Home Inspectors, Cancer Survivors Against Radon, Children’s Environmental Health Network, Citizens for Radioactive Radon Reduction, Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, Environmental Law Institute, National Center for Healthy Housing, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The goals of NRAP are to continue efforts set forth by FRAP to eliminate radon induced cancer that can be prevented by expanding radon testing, mitigating high levels of radon exposure, and developing radon resistant construction. NRAP also aims to reduce radon risk in 5 million homes, and save 3,200 lives by 2020. To complete these goals, representatives from each organization have established the following action plans: embed radon risk reduction as a standard practice across housing sectors, provide incentives and support to test and mitigate radon, promote the use of certified radon services and build the industry, and increase public attention to radon risk and the importance of reduction. The NRAP is currently in action, implementing programs, identifying approaches, and collaborating across organizations to achieve these goals.