Monday, June 13, 2011

Radon: Invisible killer

Ginger Collins died of lung cancer in February. Her family believes the cause of Collins' disease can be attributed to exposure to radon, a colorless, odorless natural gas that is fairly common in Western Virginia.

By Mary Hardbarger and Laurence Hammack
The Roanoke Times

PEARISBURG -- For more than 30 years, Ginger Collins worked, prayed and raised her three daughters in the ranch-style brick house she and her husband built atop Bunker Hill. Little did she know that something inside her workplace, her refuge, her life, was slowly killing her. Collins died in February of lung cancer. She was 58.

Thing is, "Mama never smoked a day in her life," said Collins' youngest daughter, Tina Steele.

Collins' family believes that their beloved mother, wife and sister fell victim to radon, a naturally occurring gas that is the No. 2 leading cause of lung cancer -- second only to cigarette smoke.

In January, the level of radon in her home was discovered to be more than four times that recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency. Until then, the Collinses had never heard of radon, let alone known the devastation it could cause.

Full article here:

Friday, March 11, 2011

There is something to be said...

About doing business with a company that has been around for a while. Getting three bids on a job and picking the lowest bid may not be the wisest choice. There are benefits in doing business with companies that may be a little higher on price. These established companies have been around longer and have been tested for their integrity and customer satisfaction levels. These companies have been able to maintain their reputations through the good and bad economic times. Bottom line, they have an easily obtainable "tract record" of how they do business.

In the field of radon mitigation, the above statements are certainly true. In more than 25 years of radon mitigation we have seen everything from “Central Vacuum System” installers mitigating homes, as well as plumbers and HVAC contractors. Even newly “certified” radon mitigators have cost homeowners large sums of money and delayed real estate transaction in an effort to break into a market. The cost to break into the market is at the expense of the customer and not the mitigator. The end result is a sub-standard work product. Take a look at the photo on the left. This is a system installed by a “certified” mitigator. The issues with his systems may not be obvious at first, but he has created a low point in the manifold ducting, which will collect water. This mistake is fairly common among inexperienced mitigators and will cause premature wear on the blower motor, noise throughout the house and not mention what is the homeowner going to do with all that water. How are they going to get rid of it? Call the mitigator every few months at the tune of $100 service call to empty the water? No, I do not think so. The system needs to be installed correctly.

Our point is this, we understand the cost of a service is certainly important and should be weighed, but it is not the only consideration. The expertise brought to the project and the quality of work is just as important. In other words at the end of the day, was the work performed right the first time and did the customer get what they paid for? These questions certainly are legitimate to ask. Take a look at the photo to the left. Mitigators out of the state of PA installed this system (yeah, here in Chesterfield, VA). Cost was the only consideration when considering radon mitigation. We were asked to fix the aesthetics of this system. This mitigator did not care what the system looked like. We know this because he put the system within three feet of the front door. With a little extra effort, we were able to locate the system in the garage and vent through the rear roof.

Please watch the clip below, it is about a family that had a radon issue and evidently chose unknowingly to go with a radon mitigator that was less than legitimate in his services and practices...
No one should have to go through something like this:

Monday, February 28, 2011

Uranium mining foes use scare tactics, pseudoscience | Richmond Times-Dispatch

Sadly, what also gets lost in the rhetoric in these situations is the settled science and known health hazards cause by exposure to Uranium. Whether they mine that area or not, indoor radon levels in many homes and businesses in that area are more than likely above the
EPA action level. Testing is the only way to know for sure.

Uranium mining foes use scare tactics, pseudoscience Richmond Times-Dispatch

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Radon and selling your home...

If your home has already been tested for radon, providing your test results to any potential buyer is recommended. It is recommended that you use a certified tester so that reliability of the test results are not questioned.

If your home has not yet been tested for radon, make sure that a radon test is done as soon as possible. If you can, test your home before you put it on the market. This may save you valuable time during a real estate transaction. The test should always be taken in the lowest level of the home which is finished and suitable for occupancy. If your home has additions that are in contact with the ground, test those areas as well. The results of the radon test(s) should then be made available to potential buyers.

If your home has a radon mitigation system have your home tested every two years, per EPA recommendation. Testing to check the effectiveness of the mitigation system ensures safe levels are maintained as well as heads off any questions at the time of a real estate transaction. Maintain those test results and have them available to potential buyers.

In the Richmond area, we recommend Radon Ease for radon testing.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Although radon is chemically inert and electrically uncharged, the radon progeny formed via the radioactive decay series are in fact electrically charged and readily attach themselves to microscopic dust particles present throughout an indoor environment.

These dust particles are frequently inhaled into the lungs or ingested (from drinking water) into the gastrointestinal tract.

The inhaled particles immediately attach to the lung alveoli while the ingested radon progeny are absorbed into the bloodstream and ultimately transported to the lungs.

The deposited progeny readily undergo subsequent radioactive decay processes by emitting alpha radiation which slowly penetrates the inner lung surface, disrupts DNA structure within lung cells, and can potentially induce lung cancer.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dr. Oz Show: Lung Cancer Is Deadly and Test Your Home for Radon TODAY

Today on the Dr. Oz Show, we learned about Lung Cancer and how Radon in your home is a leading cause of it in non-smokers.

Dr. Oz says that lung cancer kills more than breast, colon and pancreatic cancers combined. If you know the warning signs and catch it early, you can survive. Last year in the US, over 220,000 patients were diagnosed with lung cancer, and nearly 160,000 people died of it. Most cases are caused by smoking, but you don’t have to smoke to get lung cancer.

Dr. Oz’s guests today were Dr. Otis Brawley, the Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society and Regina Vidaver, the Executive Director of the National Lung Cancer Partnership.

The warning signs of lung cancer are first and foremost, a cough that doesn’t go away. After multiple rounds of antibiotics, if your cough has still not gone away, or if you’ve have a cough for more than a month, you need to see a doctor. If you’re coughing up blood, you need to see a doctor. And the last warning sign is pain in the chest, neck or shoulder.

Besides smoking, Vidaver says that ex-smokers are still at risk. Other risk factors are exposure to second-hand smoke, radon and then your genetics can predispose you to it as well. 20,000 people every year get diagnosed with lung cancer that never smoked.

The number one cancer risk in your home is radon. Rebecca Morley, the Executive Director of the National Center for Healthy Living says that when radon gets trapped in your home, it can become a problem as it is a Class-A carcinogen. One in 15 homes have radon in them! Everybody needs to get a test from the hardware store and check your home. The EPA acceptable Radon level is 4.0 pCi/L, but Morley said the World Health Organization set it at 2.7. If you have test results that are higher than acceptable levels, you need to have a company come in and do mitigation that removes the radon from your house and sends it out via a pipe in the roof.

Monday, January 10, 2011

January is National Radon Awareness Month

The World Health Organization has released their mortality statistics for 2010 and a startling statistic about in-home causes of death surfaced. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Radon Gas causes over 20,000 deaths annually in the United States. To put that into perspective, Radon caused more deaths in 2010 than drunk driving, fires, and carbon monoxide.

The EPA is urging the U.S. media to assist in creating awareness of this silent killer by declaring January National Radon Awareness Month. Radon problems have been detected in almost every county in the United States. The Surgeon General and American Lung Association have also taken action to help prevent these needless deaths by recommending that all homes in the U.S. be tested regardless of geographic location or foundation type.
Testing is the key. If elevated levels are found, mitigation will reduce the risk.
You can learn more about Radon Gas and National Radon Action Month 2011 at

Also visit our website at a very good site for realtors and prospective home buyers.