Radon gas is a colorless, odorless gas that builds up inside homes and other buildings after entering the structures from the sediment beneath through the foundation, pipes, drains and other routes of entry or from well water.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as many as 1 in 15 homes has elevated concentrations of radon gas (>4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L)). Radon is estimated to cause about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year, according to EPA’s 2003 Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003), making it the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.
AirQuest conducts short-term air testing and long-term testing for Radon Gas. If the initial measurement result is less than 4 pCi/l, follow-up measurements are probably not required. Even if the measurement result is less than 4 pCi/l, however, the building owner may want to test again sometime in the future. If the occupancy patterns change or renovations are made to the building, a new test should be conducted in accordance with EPA protocols. If the result of the short-term measurement is equal to or greater than 4 pCi/L, the building Owner should conduct a follow-up measurement using a short-term or long-term test.
The purpose of a follow-up measurement is to provide the owner with enough information to make an informed decision on whether to mitigate to reduce radon levels. The follow-up measurement, whether it is short-term or long-term, provides an additional piece of information to confirm that radon levels are high enough to warrant mitigation. Radon levels fluctuate over time, and a second short-term measurement, when averaged with the first test result, will provide a more representative value for the average radon level during the period of the test. If a long-term follow-up measurement is conducted, that result should provide an even more representative value for the long-term average radon concentration. Homes should not be mitigated on the basis of a single short-term test. A follow-up test is necessary for mitigation decision-making regardless of the initial test result.
In addition, follow-up measurements at least every five years and whenever significant changes to the building’s structure or mechanical systems occur is recommended. Testing during a different season or with long-term tests is recommended.
The samples are submitted under chain of custody to a certified laboratory and analyzed in accordance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Method 402-R-92-004. The laboratory results are incorporated into a report documenting sampling locations, procedures and the results of the laboratory analysis.