Radon is an invisible radioactive gas created from natural deposits of uranium and radium in the soil. Uranium breaks down to radium, which in turn decays into radon gas. Radon is an inert gas, which means it does not react or combine with the other elements in the ground. Because of this, radon can move up through the soil into the atmosphere, where radon is easily diluted and presents little concern.
When radon enters a building from the soil below, it can accumulate in enclosed spaces and become a serious health concern. This most notably occurs in the lowest spaces of a building, such as the basement. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and is estimated by the EPA to cause more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year. In Idaho, it is estimated that 40.2% of homes contain radon levels above 4 picocuries per liter of air. The EPA and Surgeon General recommend that individuals are not exposed to radon levels above 4 pCi/L. (the World Health Organization recommends exposures be limited to no more than 2.7 pCi/L) In Kootenai County specifically, an estimated 58% of homes contain 4 pCI/L and above.
Testing a building for the presence of radon gas can be as simple as acquiring a test kit at a local hardware store or hiring a qualified home inspector to perform the test. Testing involves leaving the test materials inside the home for a minimum of 48 hours, then sending the test materials to an EPA certified lab for analysis and results. Once excessive levels of radon gas have been identified, there are effective ways to mitigate the issue by installing specialized materials and equipment that divert the gas safely to the exterior for optimal dilution away from occupied spaces. These services are provided by several qualified companies across North Idaho.
Lake City Inspections offers radon testing utilizing test kits listed under the EPA Radon Gas Measurement Proficiency Program. This is a very common add-on service that buyers choose to obtain along with a complete home inspection. Additionally, for pre-listing inspections it is very useful to obtain a radon test to prove to potential buyers that excessive levels do not exist or that an existing mitigation system is functional. Testing a home for radon gas is an important step in ensuring the safety of all occupants.