Radon Overview

What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that forms from the decay of uranium which can be found in granite and ledge. Inhalation of radon gas can potentially harm lung tissue possibly leading to cancer. Due to the amount of granite and ledge present, the entire state of Maine has the potential to have elevated radon levels.

How does radon enter the home or water supply?

Radon enters the home through small cracks or holes in the foundation. Homes that are built near deposits of granite or ledge are generally more susceptible to radon problems than homes built on sandy or clay like soils, however it is recommended that the air in EVERY home in Maine be tested for radon. Radon levels will fluctuate over the course of the year and are generally considered highest during the heating season.

Radon in water is also a concern for residents using private wells. It is recommended that EVERY private well in Maine be tested for radon. The primary concern with radon in water is not from consuming it, but from the gas escaping and then inhaling it. This is of particular concern while showering, or doing dishes or laundry.

What are the consequences of living in a home and drinking water with high radon levels?

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and the leading cause among non-smokers. Radon is estimated to cause approximately 21,000 deaths each year in the Unites States. Many of these are people who have never smoked. Studies have shown that people who smoke are more susceptible to radon than those who do not.

How do I test for Radon?

It is very simple to measure radon levels in your home. Order your radon testing kit online or contact Northeast Laboratory Services via email or phone and we will send you a kit at no charge. Simply follow the instructions and return the kit to us with payment. Your results will be sent out the following business day.

How are radon levels measured and what is a high level?

Radon in measured in pCi/L (pronounced peeko curries per liter).

Air

The state of Maine currently recommends that all homes with radon levels in air above 4.0 pCi/L be fixed (mitigated).

If your results are between 2.0 pCi/L and 4.0 pCi/L the state recommends that more information is gathered before you decided whether to mitigate or not. If your results are less than 2.0 pCi/L mitigation is not recommended, however you should test your home every 3 to 5 years.

Water

If your radon level in water is greater than 10,000 pCi/L the state recommends mitigation. If it is between 4,000 pCi/L and 10,000 pCi/L the state recommends that more information is gathered before you decided whether to mitigate or not. If your radon in water level is below 4,000 pCi/L mitigation is not recommended, however you should retest your well every 3 to 5 years.

What to do if you find high radon levels in your home or water?

If you test your home for radon and find the levels to be unacceptably high, you should contact a registered mitigation contractor.

It is important to use a registered mitigation contractor, it is not work you should attempt yourself. There are a number of ways of mitigating radon in your home and speaking with registered professional will ensure that your home is fixed properly.