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Do you have a question about how to make your home safe, healthy and energy efficient? Ask us! 

At GHHI we have leading experts on lead safety, environmental health, family advocacy, tenant's rights, energy efficiency, home safety issues, pest control and more. They have provided several answers to frequently asked questions on this page. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, send us your questions by filling out the form to the right and we’ll find one of our experts to help get it answered!

Is radon equally dangerous for everyone or more dangerous for children?

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. Children are at greater risk for lung cancer from radon exposure because their lungs are smaller and still developing. Radon decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs, causing tissue damage that ultimately leads to lung cancer. Radon is also increases the risk of lung cancer in smokers because their lungs are already compromised. 

What is radon and where does it come from?

Radon is a radioactive gas found in soil. It produced by the natural decay of uranium. Radon travels up through the ground and into the air. It can easily pass through the foundation of your home through cracks and holes. The highest risk for radon exposure is inside your home because the walls trap the gas and it builds to higher concentrations. It can be found anywhere, but there are certain parts of the U.S. that have higher levels.

How can I test my home for radon?

Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). Purchase a short term test that includes lab results to measure the levels in your home. If the lab results reveal a level of 4 pCi/L or higher, follow up with a long-term test. If the average results are 4 pCi/L or higher, you will need to hire a qualified contractor to install a radon mitigation system. Kits are available online or at your local hardware store. Local health departments often offer free test kits. Because radon levels can fluctuate, it’s a good idea to test your home once a year, alternating the season in which you test.

Is radon a concern in newer homes?

Yes. Radon can enter a home through cracks and holes in the foundation, floors and walls including construction joints, gaps in suspended floors and around service pipes, wall cavities and the water supply. According to the EPA, nearly one out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels.

Do I need a carbon monoxide detector on every floor or just in the basement?

It’s ideal to have a CO detector on every floor of your home. Placement is very important—detectors should be installed near bedrooms so that sleeping occupants will hear the alarm. Do not install detectors near the bathroom or any other areas that produce moisture. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper placement. Test the alarm every six months and replace the batteries or unit as needed. The average life of a CO detector is seven years.

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