LCHM Winter18 - 11

L C M E D S O C .O R G

There are several testing options available for the everyday
consumer. However, prior to conducting a radon test in your
home, the time of year should be considered. Radon levels vary
seasonally, and with changes in heating and ventilation in the home.
Therefore, the highest likely radon levels may be found during the
cold months, when the house is closed up and radon is less likely to
escape. Commonly, two types of tests are used; they include either a
short term or long term option. Short term tests can remain in your
home anywhere from two to ninety days, depending on the type
used. There are various mechanisms that short term tests employ,
including charcoal canisters, charcoal liquid scintillation detectors,
and continuous monitors to name a few. The short term option
of testing is great if quick results are needed; also, following up a
short term test with a second one can be a valid way to determine
if further action is necessary. However, this avenue may not be the
best option for finding out a yearlong average amount of radon in
your home. Contrary to short term options, long term testing can
more accurately portray the yearlong average amounts of household
radon levels. Long term tests remain in the home for ninety days or
more and include such styles as alpha track and electret detectors.
Radon test kits can be purchased from a PA certified laboratory or
a local hardware store. When executing either test, be sure to follow
the manufacturer's instructions and verify that the analysis of the
test is conducted by a PA certified laboratory. This information can
be obtained at
After testing is completed and the results have been obtained,
action steps may need to be taken. Currently, the EPA's recommended action level is set at 4 pCi/L. Any test yielding numbers
above 4 pCi/L should result in further action being taken by the
home owner. If a short term test result is higher than 4 pCi/L, then
a second follow up test should be administered. The second test can
be either a short term or long term test. However, if a short term
test yields numbers that are more than twice the EPA's action level,
then an immediate second short term test should be administered,
to verify the results in a quicker fashion. After testing is completed
and if results reflect levels higher than 4 pCi/L, the remediation
process should begin.
Fortunately, radon remediation techniques can be simple and
affordable. The most basic, preliminary step to take would be to
seal up any cracks and fissures in the floors and walls. However, this
step may only work in some cases where levels are not excessively
high. In other cases, soil suction systems, sometimes known as
sub-slab ventilation, employ pipes and fans as a means to eliminate
radon. Soil suction systems work by removing the radioactive gas
from the soil underneath the house before it can penetrate the
foundation. Choosing the right type of remediation efforts for
your situation will depend on the amount of radon in your home
and the style of home you have. The Pennsylvania Department
of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) recommends using a
certified radon mitigation contractor to fix a radon problem in
your home, due to the technical skills and knowledge needed for

the job. A list of state certified radon mitigation contractors can be
found at
Due to the prevalence of radon in Pennsylvania, the PA DEP offers
a plethora of materials created for its residents. These materials include
The PA Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction, The PA Citizens Guide
to Radon, and The PA Home Buyers and Sellers Guide to Radon, to
name a few. All of these resources and more can be found at the PA
DEP website.
United States, Congress, "A Citizen's Guide to Radon: The Guide to Protecting Yourself and
Your Family from Radon." A Citizen's Guide to Radon: the Guide to Protecting Yourself and
Your Family from Radon, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Indoor Environments
Division, 2012.
United States, Congress, "Pennsylvania Citizen's Guide to Radon: The Guide to Protecting
You and Your Family from Radon." Pennsylvania Citizen's Guide to Radon: the Guide to
Protecting You and Your Family from Radon, Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection,
2003. Revised 04/2016.
United States, Congress, "Pennsylvania's Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction." Pennsylvania's
Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Consumer_s%20Guide.pdf. Revised 04/16
"Radon and Cancer." American Cancer Society, The American Cancer Society Medical and
Editorial Content Team, 23 Sept. 2015,

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WINTER 2018 | Lehigh County Health & Medicine 11


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of LCHM Winter18

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