Red Dog Home Inspections, Inc.
"Inspecting to a higher standard"
PO Box 17202 • Portland OR • 97217                                                                                        Cell Phone 503 • 516 • 0272

Radon Information

What is radon?

Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless radioactive gas that is released when uranium in rocks, soil and water decays. There are no warning signs
of radon exposure. Present in very low concentrations in outdoor air, radon concentrates in buildings by entering through cracks in basement concrete, holes around pipes and conduit and/or air rising from crawlspaces. Although rare, well water can also be a source of indoor radon.

Radon in the northwest Oregon and southwest Washington areas is largely caused by the deposition of granites and other uranium and radium containing soils and rocks over 12,000 years ago during a series of floods. Known as the Missoula Floods, boulders and soils from Canada were deposited here during floods caused when glaciers blockiing valleys in Montana broke, releasing huge quantities of water that had built up behind the great icy dams. The resulting flood scoured out the walls of ther Columbia River gorge, flooded the Portland area under 400 feet of water, flooded the Willamette and Tualatin Valleys and deposited the soils and rocks we see today below 500 feet.

How dangerous is radon?

When inhaled, alpha particles from the decaying radon can damage lung cells. According to the National Academy of Sciences, radon causes an estimated 15 - 22,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States. By comparison, drunk driving is responsible for about 12,000 deaths per year. Pets can also be affected by high radon concentrations.

Is radon common in Oregon and southwest Washington?

High radon concentrations have been found in every neighborhood. However, homes in some areas have a much greater risk of having high radon levels. North and northest Portland, Clark county Washington and west Salem, for example, are areas where nearly 50% of the homes tested have indoor radon concentrations that exceed EPA's recommended action level of 4 picoCuries per liter of air (pCi/L). The only way to know if you are being exposed to dangerous radon concentrations at home is to test your house. 

Are children more susceptible to radon?

Yes. Children are more sinsitive to radon because their lungs are smaller and their respiratory rates are twice as high as the average adult. Doctors say that, by the age of 10, a child reeives twice the lung dose of an adult who's been exposed to radon for the same length of time.

Should I test my home for radon?

The Surgeon General and the EPA recommend that every home be tested for radon. Affordable and easy to do, radon testing can be done by a professional or homeowner. Short-term tests can be as brief as 2 days.

The quickest way to test is with short-term tests. Short-term tests remain in your home from two days to 90 days, depending on the device. There are two groups of devices which are more commonly used for short-term testing. The passive device group includes alpha track detectors, charcoal canisters, charcoal liquid scintillation detectors, and electret ion chambers. The active device group consists of different types of continuous monitors.

What about radon from my granite countertops?

To view a document from the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST), please click here.

To view a letter from the Health Physics Society to the New York Times newspaper, please click here.

                                                              The above information was gathered from various online sources available to the public.

                                                                                                                            "Inspecting to a higher standard"