What is Radon and How Does It Affect My Home Purchase?


Radon is not produced as a commercial product. It is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium. It is usually found in igneous rock and soil, but in some cases, well water may also be a source of radon.

Testing is the only way to know your home's radon levels. There are no immediate symptoms that will alert you to the presence of radon. It typically takes years of exposure before any problems surface.

Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas. You cannot see, smell or taste radon, but it may be a problem in your home. The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, you're at high risk for developing lung cancer. Some scientific studies of radon exposure indicate that children may be more sensitive to radon. This may be due to their higher respiration rate and their rapidly dividing cells, which may be more vulnerable to radiation damage.

How do I test for radon? 

Most home inspectors have the ability to test a home for radon levels at the same time as the home inspection.  If the results of the test come back as positive and higher than the EPA recommended levels of 4.0, you can hire a professional Radon Mitigation Company to handle the problem.  Talk to your Realtor about how to proceed.  You can also get more information from the  EPA  website and AARST, American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists which has more helpful information and tools as well as links to education courses and equipment retailers.  Many thanks to David Elliott for bringing this to my attention.