Radon FAQ

What is Radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas, it comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. Radon is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, making it undetectable without testing. Radon is a carcinogen, and is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

How does radon get into your home?

Radon moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.

How is radon a health risk?

As radon decays it emits alpha particles that can cause lung cancer. Radon is sticky. It sticks to dust, smoke and aerosols that we breathe in; the alpha particles radiate into the lungs and damage tissues.

Are we sure that radon is a health risk?

EPA already has a wealth of scientific data on the relationship between radon exposure and the development of lung cancer. The scientific experts agree that the occupational miner data is a very solid base from which to estimate risk of lung cancer deaths annually. Health authorities like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Surgeon General , the American Lung Association, the American Medical Association, and others agree that we know enough now to recommend radon testing and to encourage public action when levels are above 4 pCi/L.  (BEIR VI) Report (see https://www.epa.gov/radon/health-risk-radon#beir). This report reinforces that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer and is a serious public health problem.

How is radon detected?

Testing is the only way to know your home’s radon levels. There are no immediate symptoms that will alert you to the presence of radon. The most reliable and accurate way to test for radon is the continuous radon monitor (CRM).

How often should I test/retest my home for radon?

Retest every two years to ensure your radon remains at safe levels.

Lead FAQ

What is Lead Poisoning?

Lead poisoning is caused by swallowing or breathing lead. Lead is especially dangerous for young children. It can cause permanent damage to the brain, kidneys and nervous system. Even low levels can slow a child’s development and cause learning and behavior problems.

How do children become Lead Poisoned?

Children are most frequently lead poisoned by household lead paint dust. Lead dust is created by chipping or peeling paint, opening and closing lead painted windows, or repairs or renovations to lead painted surfaces. This lead dust rests on surfaces which children touch and then clings to their hands and toys. Children ingest this lead dust when they put their hands or toys into their mouths. Children are also lead poisoned by mouthing lead painted surfaces and eating lead paint chips. In rare instances, children are lead poisoned by lead contaminated water and soil.

What is the Lead Law?

The Lead Law requires the deleading or interim control (see question six) of lead hazards existing in homes built before 1978 where children under six live. Owners are responsible for complying with the Lead Law and paying the costs to delead. This includes owners of rental property as well as owners living in their own single-family or multi-family home.

How does an owner comply with the Lead Law?

There are two ways to comply:

  • Have all lead hazards corrected. You must first hire a licensed lead inspector who will test your home for lead and record all lead hazards.


  • Have only urgent lead hazards corrected, while controlling remaining hazards. This temporary method is called Interim Control. You must first hire a licensed risk assessor who will show you what work must be done for Interim Control. A home may be under control for up to two years.