Radon gas is a naturally occurring gas that is odorless, colorless and tasteless. It comes from the breaking down of Uranium in the soil. This is something New Mexico definitely has a lot of and will be here for millions of years to come. Areas such as Santa Fe are expected to have elevated levels of radon gas in more than 33% of the homes. Albuquerque is known to have homes with elevated levels closer to the mountains.
The national average of radon gas outside of a home is expected to be around 0.4 pCi/L. The average person will be exposed to higher levels inside of their homes than from any other source. This is due to the increase performance of building construction and the ability to trap the gas in the home.
The World Health Organiztion conducted studies and shows that radon gas was the primary cause of lung cancer among people who never smoked.
The EPA set the action level at 4.0pCi/L. Above this level it is recommended to have a radon reduction(mitigation) system installed to reduce your exposure. The World Health Organization has recommended a 2.7pCi/L action level to be established. Even at 2.0pCi/L this is hundreds of times greater than what is allowed for carcinogens in our food.
While there is no safe level of radon gas, we can reduce our exposure. A simple and inexpensive radon test can give you the information you need to make an informed decision about your exposure to radon gas.
1) Radon is in gas form for only 3.8 days. Radon gas does not continue to build up in your home.
2) Opening the windows does not lower the radon levels in the home. Levels are affected by pressure and a negative pressure created will raise the level of radon gas.
3) Just because your neighbor has high radon does not mean your home will have high radon. The only way to know is to have the home tested.
4) The foundation type does not determine if the home may have elevated levels of radon. Home with basements, crawlspace or on a slab can all have elevated levels of radon gas.
What You Can Do
Have a test performed by a radon testing company. Long term tests can be more accurate, so if you live in the home ask about a 30 or 90 day test option