11 States Taking Action Against Radon | NPI Franchise Blog


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11 States Taking Action Against Radon

 August 15, 2023 |  Inspection Tips |  inspection industry, business growth, entrepreneur

By Jon McCreath, NPI, Inc.'s Technical Supervisor & Training Administrator

Each year, more and more people are becoming aware of the threat that radon poses to families and homeowners. The World Health Organization, along with the most prominent national and international health agencies, have been appropriately banging the drum to increase broad awareness of the odorless, colorless gas (which is now the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US, per the CDC).

Even in states where radon’s presence is not as prevalent, experts are advising that the gas’ concentration can vary even from house to house. For home inspectors that have not yet invested in radon testing as an outlet for diversification, signs are pointing towards a higher emphasis on the importance of knowing your home’s radon levels. While radon testing can be a valuable service offering anywhere, here are a few regions of particular interest.

High Presence in the Midwest and Plains
Radon levels are recorded in the units of “picocuries” per liter (written as pCi/L), perhaps better understood as one-trillionth “curies,” a unit created to measure radioactivity content named after Marie Curie. With radon entering homes through the breakdown of uranium gases in ground soil, the World Health Organization considers any reading above 2.7 pCi/L a health concern, and the EPA compels action at anything above 4.0 pCi/L.

In states in the midwest like Nebraska, their most populated areas are seeing their highest average levels of radon in homes, with lower story inhabitants facing the most exposure. Per a news report in early 2023, Nebraska actually ranks in the three worst states when it comes to radon danger due to glacial movement in its distant past, apparently only better off than Iowa and Minnesota. In a setting where anything above 4.0 pCi/L is a danger, homes in Nebraska’s most populous counties (Washington, Douglas, and Sarpy) recorded radon levels above 100.0 pCi/L.

To combat their extremely high radon levels, Minnesota’s homes have been built to be radon-resistant since 2009, featuring either active or passive radon mitigation systems (per Minnesota's Department of Health). As home inspectors, ensuring that buyers and their families end up in homes that are safe is a top priority. It is through services like radon testing that homeowners can take their health into their own hands.

A Concern for Private Wells
The most common way that radon gas enters into houses is through cracks in the foundation and other small gaps in areas like basements and garages as uranium breaks down in the soil. However, another concern for many is radon contamination through reliance on private wells for water access. In states where private water wells are common, like New Hampshire, radon can attack homes from multiple angles.

According to a study performed by the United States Geological Survey, many areas in New Hampshire, including Canaan, Enfield, Hanover, and Lebanon saw elevated levels of radon and uranium in its ground water. While public water supplies are closely monitored, tested, and treated, around 40% of the state relies on private wells for their own drinking water. For these families, well water potability and quality inspections should be a high priority for ongoing monitoring and defense.

One mineral particularly known for its uranium content is granite, so while all homeowners that utilize private wells should be aware of the related risks, the Granite State should take particular notice of these concerns.

Fighting Radon in the Rockies
Radon increases the risk of lung cancer for everyone, but for people who also smoke, their likelihood of developing lung cancer while affected by high levels of radon exposure increases tenfold. In states throughout the Rocky Mountains and in the Black Hills, the high presence of natural metamorphic rocks and uranium deposits is consistent with dangerous levels of radon.

In January, EPA launched the “Test Your Nest" campaign for homeowners in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming to highlight a need for radon testing and mitigation in those regions. According to the EPA, these states all have large portions set within “Zone 1” of their national Radon Zones map (which corresponds to the highest potential of average indoor radon levels above 4.0 pCi/L). These natural conditions have led to troubling effects such as lung cancer being Utah’s leading cause of cancer death in the state, despite it having the lowest rate of smoking in the US.

Radon action is a real need in the U.S., and home inspectors are the perfect resource to combat this issue. If radon testing isn’t in your repertoire yet, now is the time to make a change.

NPI knows the importance of action against radon. That’s why we provide resources for our franchisees to offer the best radon testing in the industry. To learn more about how NPI offers support for ancillary services, talk to our recruitment team today!


About the Author
Jon McCreath, Technical Supervisor & Training Administrator
A former NPI franchise owner and real estate agent, Jon joined the NPI corporate team in 2019. With his inspection expertise and foundation in classroom instruction, Jon teaches and mentors new franchisees during their two-week training course in Omaha. He also handles technical support calls during and after office hours and guides franchisees through the state licensing process.

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