Testing for Radon in Homes – Being a Cancer-Conscious Homeowner

My husband and I are looking to purchase our first home. The process has been very exciting and we have looked at dozens of homes in the past year. We think we have found one and are going through the process. Hopefully we will know in a few weeks!

One thing I was interested to learn about while researching different inspections for homes is radon. Radon is a radioactive gas which comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. The home then traps radon inside, where it can build up over time.

Radon levels above a 4.0 are considered dangerous. Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., and the # 1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Also, it is not mandatory to test for radon when purchasing a home.

I decided to do a radon test on our potential home, as cancer survivors and people with a family history of cancer are at a slightly increased risk with radon exposure. The test takes about 48 hours, and then we will know what the radon level for the home is. If necessary, we can install a radon mitigation treatment system to make the house, especially the finished basement, safe.

Anyone can have a radon test performed at any time – mine cost $85. I would think that this would be something that cancer survivors especially would want to do, just to be safe. I have absolutely no idea what the radon level is in my current apartment, or in any other apartment I have ever lived in, or my parents’ house either. Very scary. I want to make sure that my new home is the safest possible environment for my health, and my family’s health.

More information about radon in Massachusetts can be found here.

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