TESTING FOR RADON AND RADON MITIGATION ARE IMPORTANT HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS FOR PENNSYLVANIA RESDIENTS
In early April, a new study that was published by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, explores a noted increase in residential radon in Pennsylvania due to hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” The research involves a review of radon levels collected from over 700,000 buildings in Pennsylvania from 1989 to 2013. While this study (Predictors of Indoor Radon Concentrations in Pennsylvania 1989 - 2013) cannot undeniably conclude that fracking is responsible for the radon level increases, it is important to note that radon levels began an upward trend from 2004 to 2012 with higher levels in counties with more than 100 drilled wells.
Radon is a recognized carcinogenic gas that is produced by the decay of uranium in soil. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year. The primary source of radon in homes is gas that has travelled through soil and entered the building through foundation openings such as cracks, sump pits, foundation joints, crawlspaces, or utility access penetrations. Soil or geologic changes or disturbances such as nearby construction can open new travel pathways for radon. In fact, the EPA recommends routine radon testing every two years because geologic changes can affect your radon level. In areas where natural gas is being extracted by methods that involve soil and rock fracturing, it seems unavoidable that other soil gases, such as radon, would also be released.
As residents and homeowners in Pennsylvania, the important points to consider are these:
- Pennsylvania has some of the highest radon levels in the country. Over 40% of Pennsylvania homes test above the EPA accepted level for radon gas.
- In recent years, natural gas extraction via fracking has become well established in many areas in Pennsylvania.
- Exposure to radon gas is a recognized health risk.
- Radon testing is the only way to know if you and your family are exposed to radon in your home, school, or workplace.
Radon testing is the first line of defense in protecting yourself and your family from radon related lung cancer. When radon is found, a radon mitigation system is an effective and affordable way to reduce your exposure to the dangers of radon gas. Professional radon testing is available, but a homeowner can conduct a simple radon test in just a few days to determine the radon level in their home. The EPA and the US Surgeon General recognize 4.0 pCi/L as the highest “acceptable” radon level and recommend the installation of a radon mitigation system when radon test results fall above this standard.
The need for radon testing and radon mitigation has long been a fact of life for Pennsylvania residents. When radon is found, it is important to consult with a certified Pennsylvania radon mitigation professional regarding the radon levels in your home. In light of this recent study results, all homeowners should consider radon testing and radon remediation to protect lung health.
About the Author:
Katherine Fisher is the co-owner and Vice President of SWAT Environmental of Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelors degree from Purdue University in Environmental Sciences and is NRPP certified in radon measurement and radon mitigation.
To purchase a radon test kit or to get a free quote on radon mitigation for your home, contact the experts at SWAT Environmental of Pennsylvania at 1-800-NO-RADON.
Our highly trained professional staff is here to provide you and your customers with the best in radon mitigation services, including: