Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of minerals in soil and rocks. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and invisible gas. Radon gas usually exists at very low levels outdoors; however, radon can accumulate indoors to levels that substantially increase health risks.
North End homes can have dangerously high levels of radon. The naturally occurring gas can cause lung cancer and other diseases. Testing and remediation are likely easier than you’d expect.
When one of our North End neighbors discovered very high levels of radon, we tested our home with an industry-standard Corentium detector. To our shock, our house had very high levels of radon. We had no idea our health was at risk with every breath – but we knew from our neighbor’s remediation success that our home could also be fixed.
Radon is prevalent throughout Ada County and especially in Boise’s North End. According to Idaho State Health and Welfare maps, 25% to 50% of our homes potentially have high levels of radon.
Radon can seep in from the ground and decays quickly, releasing tiny particles. As an inhaled gas, it is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. Some research shows that a portion can pass from the lungs and into the bloodstream and can linger in the body. Some studies show potential risks to the brain, bone marrow and the nervous system, as well as links to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Unfortunately, radon testing is not required in Idaho, nor is it a standard disclosure on home sales. Only testing can determine home radon levels. Neighborhood results are unpredictable, as one home may have low-level test results while the home next door has high-level test results.
You can conduct your own home test with discounted kits available through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare at RadonIdaho.org. More accurate test devices are available online, or professional testing is available through a radon mitigation contractor.
The most commonly used and highly successful technique for radon removal is called “active soil depressurization.” With this technique, radon is captured under your home before it enters and is then effectively vented outside, where it is safely diluted into the atmosphere.
Mitigation costs can range from $1,500 to $3,000 or more. Every home is unique, making each mitigation system vary due to foundation type, square footage, crawl space, height of the home and even soil density underneath the foundation.
Is your family’s health at risk? Only an accurate radon test will tell.
See also: KTVB News Report 2018