Radon Poisoning

Radon Poisoning: What you need to know

Radon poisoning can be deadly. Any suspicion of radon exposure should be dealt with immediately. Additionally, medical precautions and checks are recommended if any human contact with radon is likely.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas and cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. There is potential for radon to be in all homes not built with radon-resistant features.

Additionally, according to the EPA, radon gas poisoning is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. Cancer.gov estimates 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States are associated with radon poisoning. Fittingly, the Surgeon General warns that radon poisoning is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only cigarette smoking causes more lung cancer deaths.

As is with asbestos or other types of airborne disease-causing agents, smoking will significantly increase your risk and add risk to those that live in the residence with you.

More Information on Radon

Radon (radioactive) is the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water.  Through manmade and natural disturbances in the earth, radon can become airborne. Where high concentrations collect (the gas can build up in enclosed areas), there is a potential for radon poisoning.

Radon is found all over the United States in homes, schools and other buildings.  The greatest risk, however, is in the home, during cold winter months. The winter months are also the best time for radon testing. Though some parts of the United States produce more radon than others, it is important that homes in high-risk areas such as Portland be tested for radon gas to prevent the potential for radon poisoning.  In cities like Portland where high levels of radon are found, the EPA says homeowners and landlords should make prompt fixes to keep the gas outdoors. Without those fixes, the potential for radon poisoning is drastically increased.

Public schools in the Portland area are also under the gun to mitigate the problem in school buildings that tested high for radon gas.  It might be wise to check to see if the school in your local community has tested high for radon, or ask neighbors if they recently tested for radon in their home.  If radon is a problem in your local community, there is a good chance that your home or rental property has the potential for high radon gas levels as well.

Healthy Home Radon Testing

The EPA recommends that homeowners test for radon at least every two years.  If you know that you have radon gas in your area, a test should be done each year, even after mitigation.

Radon test kits can valuable tools to document the average concentration of radon over a set period of time. Canisters with activated charcoal or liquid scintillation media are placed in an area or areas of a building where they are not likely to be disturbed for approximately 48 to ­96 hours. The sample media absorbs radon gas. Then, an analysis is conducted at a laboratory to determine the radon amount present in the sample. A calculation is performed to give an average radon concentration over that sample duration. This type of sampling is good to get a baseline level of radon in a building over a period of time, but fluctuations in radon concentrations during that period cannot be determined.

If elevated radon levels are detected in a home using canisters, the next step might be to use direct-­read radon detection equipment. The benefit of this type of sampling is that fluctuations in radon levels can be observed over the duration of the sample period. This is very helpful to determine what conditions are causing elevated levels and what conditions might dilute those levels and prevent elevated concentrations.


If you live in an area that has historically high radon levels, our radon testing service may be right for you.  Our qualified technicians are here to give you answers and peace of mind.