Rising Radon Levels in Massachusetts: Rain's Unexpected Consequence

Rising Radon Levels in Massachusetts: Rain's Unexpected Consequence

In Massachusetts,  recent rainfall has been amplifying an already prevalent issue—increased radon levels in homes.

What is Radon and Why Should We Be Concerned?

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that results from the natural breakdown of rocks and soil  This radioactive gas can seep into homes, especially through the lower levels of foundations. Extended exposure to high levels of radon is harmful and can cause lung cancer. Given that 1 in 4 homes in Massachusetts already registers high radon levels, it's a matter that requires our urgent attention.

Rain, Radon, and Other Contributing Factors

Recent rains have exacerbated the radon situation. But how? As the ground becomes saturated with water, it can drive radon from the soil into homes. Moreover, homeowners should be aware of changes in the land around their homes. Activities such as road paving, installation of new water or gas lines can affect how radon enters a residence.

Winter weather is another factor that amplifies radon levels. With windows and doors typically shut tight against the cold, radon-laden air gets trapped inside homes, potentially leading to elevated radon levels.

Is Your Home Safe?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), homes with radon levels of 4 or more should have a radon mitigation system installed. To put things in perspective, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health believes the average home in the state has 3.2 pCi/L of radon.

Mitigation systems are straightforward. Typically, they involve the insertion of a PVC pipe through the basement floor, which then runs up and outside the home, safely redirecting radon gas away from the living spaces.

Regular Testing is Key

The only way to know if your home has elevated radon levels is through testing. Whether you're a new homeowner or have been residing in the same place for years, testing should be a routine. Check every two years and especially after any significant changes to the land around your home. While radon testing kits are available for homeowners to use, professionals can also be hired to ensure thorough and accurate results

While radon might be out of sight and out of mind for many, the risks it poses are real. With the recent rains and the cold season around the corner, it's the perfect time to check the radon levels in your home.

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