General Radon Information

Georgia specific radon and radon level information can be found throughout this site. You will be able to find information about certified radon inspectors in Georgia, as well as detailed radon level information for every county in Georgia.

Radon is a radioactive element that is part of the radioactive decay chain of naturally occurring uranium in soil. You can't see,smell, or taste radon gas, but it can kill you. Unlike carbon monoxide and many other home pollutants, radon's adverse health effect, lung cancer, is usually not produced immediately. Thus you may be exposed to radon for many years without ever suspecting its presence in your home.

Radon has been found in homes throughout the United States. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can also enter your home through well water. Radon can then enter the air after leaving the water during showering, cooking, and other water use activities. Water from private wells may contain much higher levels of radon than public wells.

How does radon enter your home? Houses act like giant chimneys. As the air in the house warms, it rises to leak out the attic openings and around the upper floor windows, creating a small suction at the lowest level of the house, pulling the radon out of the soil and into the house. Some people think that caulking the cracks and the openings in the basement floor will stop the radon from entering the house, but in reality, it is unlikely that caulking the accessible cracks and joints will permanently seal the openings radon needs to enter the house. The radon levels will likely remain unchanged. Fortunately, there are other extremely effective means of keeping radon out of your home. Some houses have tested as high as 2,000-3,000 pCi/, yet there hasn't been a single house that could not mitigate to an acceptable level. Mitigation usually costs between $800-$2000.

Any home can have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home since that is where you spend most of your time. Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have an elevated radon level (4 pCi/L or more). Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in your state. Contact your state radon office for information about radon in your area.

The USEPA action level for radon is 4.0 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). The risk of developing lung cancer at 4.0 pCi/L is estimated at about 7 lung cancer deaths per 1000 persons. Thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths annually in the United States are attributable to indoor residential exposure to radon. Either smoking or radon exposure can independently increase the risk of lung cancer. However, exposure to both greatly enhances that risk. (At exposures to 4 pCi of radon per liter of air, the lifetime lung cancer risk attributable to radon rises from 2 cases per thousand in non-smokers to 29 cases per thousand in smokers). The USEPA and IEMA recommends reducing your radon level if the concentration is 4.0 pCi/L or more. Lung cancer in humans arising from radon exposure is recognized by the following health and environmental organizations:

* American Medical Association

* U.S. Surgeon General

* U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

* U.S. Public Health Service

* U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

* Center for Disease Control

* National Academy of Science

* National Cancer Institute

* World Health Organization

No level of radon is considered absolutely safe, radon levels in a home should be reduced as much as possible. The amount of radon in the air is measured in picoCuries per Liter of air, or pCi/L. The EPA recommends fixing your home if the results of one long-term test or the average of two short-term tests taken in the lowest lived-in area of the home show radon levels of 4 pCi/L or higher. The higher the radon level, the more quickly you should have your home fixed.

EPA recommends that you know what the indoor radon level is in any home you consider buying. Ask the seller for their radon test results. If the home has a radon-reduction system, ask the seller for information they have about the system. If the home has not yet been tested, you should have the house tested. The EPA also recommends testing a home in the lowest level which is currently suitable for occupancy, since a buyer may choose to live in a lower area of the home than that used by the seller. If you are having a new home built, there are features that can be incorporated into your home during construction to reduce radon levels.