|Ryan Paris, Radon Coordinator
General number: (804) 864-8161
fax number: (804) 864-8165
Exposure to indoor radon, a colorless, odorless radioactive gas, is thought to be the second leading cause of lung cancer and the leading cause of lung cancer among people who have never smoked. Exposure to radon may cause as many as 21,000 cases of lung cancer each year in the United States, including almost 700 cases per year in Virginia. The EPA classifies radon risk areas as Zones 1, 2 or 3. Virginia has 46 counties and 15 cities that are classified as Zone 1 (high risk), and 24 counties and 8 cities classified as Zone 2 (moderate risk). Testing your home, workplace or other normally occupied area is the only way to know for sure if an indoor radon problem exists. Indoor radon usually reaches its maximum concentration during the coldest winter months. The lowest livable level of the structure should always be tested because that is where the highest radon levels in the structure are typically found. Self-test kits may be obtained from commercial vendors or may be ordered. If the radon level exceeds the EPA recommended action level (4.0 pCi/L), confirmatory testing should be performed. (see our Radon Professionals webpage). There are several proven methods to reduce radon in your home, but the one primarily used is a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. This system, known as a subslab suction radon reduction system, does not require major changes to your home. Sealing foundation cracks and other openings makes this kind of system more effective and cost-efficient. Similar systems can also be installed in houses with crawl spaces. Radon contractors can use other methods that may also work in your home. The right system depends on the design of your home and other factors. Radon informational brochures and documents are available at the EPA website: EPA Document Webpage.
In response to several complaints received from consumers and certified radon professionals, Virginia’s Office of Radiological Health has prepared and released a new Radon Bulletin titled: “Tamper Resistance and Other Good Practices for Radon Testing”. This document is intended for both radon professionals and their customers and it lists several suggested techniques that may help prevent unauthorized tampering with a professional radon test. These techniques are particularly important for real estate transactions in which the seller occupies the property during the radon test. It is not uncommon for sellers to accidentally invalidate radon test conditions. On occasion, some sellers have tried to manipulate the test to achieve an artificially low result. This document also lists other general radon testing practices that should always be followed to ensure a valid and accurate radon test result. This document and other Radon Bulletins may be found on the Radon Professionals webpage.
Office of Radiological Health, 109 Governor Street, 7th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219 | Telephone (804) 864-8150 | Fax: (804) 864-8155