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Radon Testing

Q. What is 'Radon' and what is a 'Radon Test'?

A.  Radon is a naturally occurring, colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that is produced by the decay of radium underground.  Radon can enter a home through the floor slab, foundation or crawlspace.  Dutchess County and surrounding areas vary in their radon concentrations.  Certain geological formations (cracks/fissures in bedrock or ledge) have been known to channel radon into relatively high concentrations at the surface.  Today's 'tighter' homes tend to reduce the frequency of air exchange that naturally take place. As a consequence, elevated levels of radon can sometimes be found in the residence. 

Long term exposure to radon gas in concentrations greater than the EPA standard has been linked to incidences of lung cancer.  The usual test procedure requires placing open-air canisters in the lowest conditioned-space area of the home.  The canisters are sent out to a laboratory after a minimum of 48 hours exposure.  Results are typically available the next day after canister retrieval.

Key features of the inspection

  • Determination whether the home is above or below the the EPA allowed concentration levels of less than 4.0 pCi/L.
  • Testing is typically done in one of two ways:
    • Open-air test (preferred)
      • Two canisters containing activated charcoal (a non-toxic material) are exposed for 2 to 6 days and then sent to a laboratory for analysis.
      • Results are typically available within 24 hours of receipt by the laboratory
    • Radon-in-water test 
      • Similar to water potability, a sample is collected in a sanitary container and sent to a laboratory for analysis.
      • Results are typically available in approximately 21 days after receipt by the laboratory
  • Consultation with a radon specialist may be advised if levels exceeding EPA standards are detected.
    • Installation of a ventilation system or other method of remediation may be recommended.



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Telephone: 845-224-6920
Postal address: 116 Judith Drive, Stormville NY 12582  
Last modified: May 30, 2013