- David Spink
Radon Control Program Manager
Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause lung cancer. It comes from the natural decay of uranium found in soil, rocks, and water, and can be harmful when it seeps into your home and other buildings.
The risk of developing lung cancer from radon exposure depends on the amount of radon gas you inhale, whether or not you are is a smoker, and other factors. Smoking makes you even more vulnerable to the effects of radon gas. There is no safe level of radon exposure. The Environmental Protection Agency considers radon to be a public health risk when the indoor air levels are higher than 4.0 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L), but radon may still pose a health risk below that level. Houses with low indoor air pressures, poorly sealed foundations, and several entry points for soil air may significantly increase exposure to radon.
Conducting a test is easy, inexpensive, and the only way to know if a building or home contains high levels of radon. Testing is required in schools, public buildings, and childcare centers. A homeowner, tenant, or certified radon measurement business can perform radon testing in residential properties. Quick test kits are available through the American Lung Association, major building supply stores, other retail outlets, and analytical labs. If the radon level in your home exceeds the EPA action level (4.0 pCi/L) additional testing or mitigation should be conducted. The higher the radon level, the greater the health risk to you and your family. The Radon Control Program is available to assist you in interpreting radon test results and to offer suggestions on retesting and/or mitigation.
Radon mitigation is any activity taken to reduce the levels of radon gas in a building, including measures to prevent the entry of radon gas into a building or venting of radon gas before it enters a building. The construction of a building is important in choosing the most effective radon reduction method. Radon mitigation should be conducted by a Rhode Island Licensed Radon Mitigation Contractor who have the technical training and knowledge to properly evaluate and address radon health risks. Testing should be performed after any radon mitigation activities.
Consider radon-resistant construction techniques when renovating or building a house.
The Radon Control Program maintains a database of radon testing performed in Rhode Island. (more) The current average radon level in the state is nearly three times the national average. More than one in four homes tested in Rhode Island has a radon level that the Environmental Protection Agency considers a health risk. more