Understanding Radon

Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is naturally present in soil, rocks, and water. It is a byproduct of the decay of uranium and radium, two radioactive elements that occur naturally in the earth’s crust. When radon is released from the ground, it can seep into buildings and accumulate to dangerous levels, causing health problems for those who breathe it in.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths each year. Because radon is invisible and has no odor or taste, it cannot be detected without specialized testing. For this reason, it is important to test your building for radon to ensure that it is safe for occupants.

Radon Testing Options

There are two main types of radon tests available for commercial and public buildings: short-term and long-term tests. Short-term tests are used to get a preliminary idea of the radon levels in a building, while long-term tests are used to provide a more accurate assessment of the average radon levels over an extended period of time.

Short-term tests typically take between two and seven days to complete and are the most common type of radon test. They are inexpensive and easy to administer, making them a popular choice for initial testing. Long-term tests, on the other hand, take more than 90 days to complete and provide a more accurate measurement of the average radon levels in a building.

Both types of tests can be conducted by a qualified radon testing professional or with a do-it-yourself kit. However, it is important to note that DIY kits can be less reliable and accurate than professional tests. If you choose to use a DIY kit, make sure that it is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and follow the instructions carefully.

Radon Mitigation

If your building has elevated radon levels, there are steps you can take to reduce the levels and protect the health of occupants. Radon mitigation typically involves installing a ventilation system that draws the radon gas from the soil or water and releases it safely into the air outside the building.

The most common type of radon mitigation system is an active soil depressurization (ASD) system, which includes a fan and ventilation pipes to suck the radon from the soil and exhaust it outside. In some cases, a similar system may be installed to draw radon from well water or other sources.

Radon mitigation systems should always be installed by a licensed professional who has experience with this type of work. A licensed contractor can assess the building and determine the best type of system for the radon levels present.

Radon Testing and Maintenance

Radon levels can fluctuate over time, so it is important to test your building regularly to ensure that radon levels remain at a safe level. The EPA recommends testing every two years, or more frequently if significant changes are made to the building or the land surrounding it.

In addition to regular testing, it is important to maintain radon mitigation systems to ensure that they are working properly. This may include replacing fans or other components of the system, checking that ventilation pipes are not blocked, and monitoring radon levels to detect any changes.

By monitoring and maintaining radon levels in your building, you can ensure that it remains a safe and healthy environment for occupants.


Radon is a serious health hazard that can lead to lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses. Regular testing and proper mitigation is essential to ensure that your commercial or public building is safe for occupants. By taking steps to test your building, reduce radon levels, and maintain your mitigation system, you can protect the health of those who use your facility. Dive deeper into the topic and discover new viewpoints with this specially selected external content. Click to access this comprehensive guide.

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Radon Testing for Commercial and Public Buildings: A Comprehensive Guide 1