Radon in the Valley

  I recently wrote an article for the new ChatsworthPatch website about the potential dangers of radon in Chatsworth.
  What I learned was astounding. First, that radon is a very commonly-occurring substance throughout the United States. Second, that radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America. (Smoking is the first). Third, that throughout the San Fernando Valley radon levels considered unsafe by the EPA have been documented in LOTS of residences.
  The statistics come from a California Dept. of Public Health database that is available to all. It lists the results of tests done on residences by zip code. There is no information on specific addresses or actual radon levels -- it just shows how many tests have been reported in a zip code and how many were at or above the unsafe level of 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter.)
  I work in Chatsworth (16%) live in Northridge (30%), and have relatives living in Granada Hills (16%) and Woodland Hills (32%), so I immediately ordered test kits for home and office and relatives from the Dr. Home Air website as mentioned in the article. It took about a week for the kits to arrive.
  The test kit directions state that your home test should be done with all the doors and windows closed. This is not a condition that is normal for my home most of the year -- but it just happened that 100 degree-plus temperatures conspired to keep the a/c running and all doors and windows closed. (There were no directions about air conditioning.)
  The test was easy -- take the little plastic container filled with activated charcoal out of a poly bag and set it on a surface off of the floor in a living space inside the house. 
   We set the kit out on top of the piano in the living room on Friday and on Monday morning popped it into its little bag and sent it off to the lab for analysis. (The cost of analysis is included in the $5 test kit fee -- a bargain.) Today we received the results by e-mail, which we had requested.
  They were NOT good. Our home showed a level of 4.2 pCi/L. While you might say that's just a fraction over the line of safe/unsafe, you might want to know that the World Health Organization recently lowered what it considers a "safe" level to 2.7 percent. Which means our home is definitely in the red zone.
  The next step will be to run another test (I got an extra kit just in case) and see what the results from that are. If we get two "bad" tests, then we'll have to call in the pros to decide what our next step is.
  Most likely, we'll install a radon mitigation system. In my view, you can't be too careful with a toxin in your home that, if left untreated, means me and my family would have the same chance of dying of lung cancer as we would of dying in a car crash. For more crazy statistics like this, and more info on radon, check out the very informative and easy to navigate EPA Radon website.
  If you live in the Valley and you haven't ordered your test kit yet, do it. Or make sure you have really good health insurance.


1 Comment!:

Aram Arakelyan said...

It is a very useful article.
I think sellers should test and disclose the test results to to the home buyer .

Aram Arakelyan
Your LA Broker For Life!