Massachusetts Radon FAQs | Massachusetts Radon FAQs

Common Radon FAQ's

What is radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas, 8 times denser than air. An intermediate step in the radioactive decay of thorium and uranium on their way to lead, radon is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, making it undetectable without instrumentation. Radon is a carcinogen, and is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Where does radon gas come from?
Uranium and thorium are two of the most prevalent radioactive elements on the planet, and trace amounts are often found in bedrock. As thorium and uranium decay, one of their natural decay products is radium, with the other being radon. As radon decays it emits alpha particles that can cause lung cancer. Radon sticks sticks to dust and aerosols; the alpha particles radiate into the lungs and damage tissues.
What type of environments are likely to contain radon?
Radon occurs naturally in bedrock. With housing code requiring basements be tightly sealed, radon that naturally seeps through small cracks in the foundation becomes trapped, resulting in high indoor concentrations.
How do I know if there is radon gas in my home?
Radon is impossible to detect without testing. Luckily, home radon test kits are widely available. The short-term kits use a carbon capsule to absorb elements in the air. After several days of exposure, the kit is sent to the lab for analysis. Long term testing can be done as well, but comes at a higher price tag. The exposure for long term testing can range from months to years. For the most accurate test, a third party laboratory can be contracted to carry out on-site testing and analyze the indoor concentration of radon using higher quality instruments.
If radon gas is found in my home should I look into radon mitigation?
If you find unsafe levels of radon, the EPA recommends taking action. The preferred method of mitigation is sub-slab depressurization, a method which collects air beneath the house before it enters through any openings. Our staff is trained, certified, and available to take care of your needs quickly and efficiently.

Radon Mitigation QuestionsOur FAQ includes the top 5 questions that people ask when contacting SWAT Environmental.

These questions cover just the beginning of information regarding radon and radon mitigation. To find more in-depth information regarding various radon topics, head to the radon information section of our site.


Testing your home for radon

There is no guaranteed way to determine radon levels without testing.

You should test radon levels before and after mitigation to ensure levels have decreased. A short-term radon test found at a local hardware store costs approximately $20 and takes a few days to complete.

SWAT Environmental sells AirChek short term radon kits that ship same day, just be sure to read and follow all directions. If you are not comfortable testing your own home a professional radon tester can charge between $50 and $200. Long-term tests like the Alpha Track Detector can take 3 months to a year to complete.
Radon levels can fluctuate while testing because of temperature, wind, barometric pressure, and precipitation. Approved radon tests must last at least 48 hours.

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