This article originally appeared in People Magazine
If you have been shopping for a new home lately in WNC your Realtor may have mentioned radon gas to you. Radon gas, that odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that has been shown to cause lung cancer in humans with prolonged exposure to high concentrations has been observed. What’s odd is that we never hear a whole lot about it from the media. Nothing in the realm of how cigarette smoking was blasted from every corner of the media.
Well, People Magazine just published an article the other day in which former USA hockey star Rachael Malmberg says that high concentrations of radon gas in both her childhood home and her current home were contributing factors to her diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer a little over 2 years ago.
It wasn’t on my radar at all actually until I started doing research on causes of lung cancer. Upon diagnosis I had no idea about radon.Rachael Malmberg
As a home inspections company in Western North Carolina who tests for radon gas regularly, we find that approximately 60% of our radon testing in Asheville shows concentrations of radon gas that exceed the EPA recommended mitigation level of 4.0pCi/l. That means 6 out of 10 homes should install radon mitigation systems to lower the concentrations of Radon Gas to ensure a safe air column for the residents of the home.
According to the EPA and Surgeon General’s office, it estimated that approximately 20,000 lung cancer deaths a year are attributable to radon gas exposure.
According to Malmberg, her childhood home tested at 7.9pCi/l which is 3.9pCi/l higher than the EPA recommended level of 4pCi/l and her family home tested at 6.9pCi/l. The good news, radon gas can be mitigated for once it is discovered and the mitigation systems are relatively inexpensive, easy to install and very effective at lowering the radon gas concentrations to within acceptable ranges.
So, what is the moral of this story? Test your home and test it regularly!!! If the concentrations are above 3.99pCi/l then install a radon mitigation system. If your readings are border line and you do not want to install a system we recommend testing at least once a year, because radon gas will vary and successful test today does not necessarily mean a good test down the road.