What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. The scentless gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer just after smoking tobacco. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water, and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above, and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon is more likely to be found in a home that has a basement but may also be found in a home without one. When considering buying a new home, it’s a good idea to ask the sellers if construction measures have been taken, such as a radon fan, to minimize radon levels.
Why You Need Radon Testing In New Jersey
Radon testing in New Jersey is essential for any homeowner, or anyone who is interested in purchasing a home in the area. Radon is a radioactive gas that is completely odorless and colorless, which is released into the atmosphere when uranium in the earth’s crust decays into radium. This gas can rise through the soil and rock, and become trapped in your home. It’s extremely carcinogenic, and radon exposure is one of the leading causes of lung cancer in New Jersey and the United States. So read on, and find out why you need radon testing in New Jersey.
Understanding Radon Risk In New Jersey
Radon can affect anyone in any state in the US, and New Jersey is no exception. In fact, seven counties in New Jersey have on average radon levels that are higher than the EPA-recommended level of 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L).
This map of New Jersey radon zones from epa.gov is an insightful resource when understanding your radon risk. However, the EPA states that this map is not intended to determine if a home in a given zone should be tested for radon. Homes with elevated levels of radon have been found in all three zones. All homes should be tested, regardless of zone designation.
As you can see, the map indicates that Sussex, Warren, Morris, Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer, and Monmouth counties are in Zone 1, meaning they all have radon concentrations greater than or equal to 4 pCi/L.
Passaic, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Union, Middlesex, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, and Cumberland counties fall into Zone 2, between 2 and 4 pCi/L.
Ocean, Atlantic, and Cape May counties are in Zone 3, less than 2 pCi/L.
How Radon Affects Your Health: Lung Cancer Risk
Unlike some other common home risks, such as carbon monoxide, radon does not present with any obvious symptoms when you are exposed. Instead, the radioactive gas affects the lining of your lungs when you breathe it in. As radon is breathed in and it decays, it can cause damage to your lungs, resulting in a higher risk of lung cancer.
The EPA estimates that radon causes 21,000 deaths per year due to lung cancer, making it the second leading cause of the disease, behind only smoking. Because radon does not have any other symptoms, those who are exposed may not even realize it until they begin to develop symptoms of lung cancer.
The Importance Of Radon Testing
The biggest benefit of radon testing is that you get peace of mind, knowing that your family is protected from the potentially carcinogenic effects of radon gas. Even if you do find that your home has elevated radon levels, it’s relatively easy to mitigate radon exposure by working with an experienced contractor to install barriers and other devices that help prevent radon from entering your home.
You should have your home in New Jersey tested for radon at least twice in different seasons, as variations in temperature can change radon levels, and retest your home every few years. In addition, it’s a good idea to have your home retested after any major renovations or changes in the structure, which could affect the spread of radon. You can test your home yourself with a test kit, or work with a home inspector to test for radon.
Protect Your Family Against Radon – Get Tested Today!
Radon is extremely dangerous and harmful, and impossible to recognize without proper testing. To protect yourself and your family, you should always make sure that you test your home regularly, and have an inspection performed on any house that you are interested in buying, to determine its radon risk.