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WISE Consulting and Training’s services include all areas of indoor or building-related environmental and industrial hygiene consulting including: Asbestos, Lead-Based Paint (LBP), Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and other potential contaminants including fungi/mold, bacteriological, chemicals, radon, methamphetamine , heavy metals and tank issues.  Asbestos, IAQ and Lead-Based Paint projects are the firm’s largest service areas. With 30 years experience and extensive experience in developing and supervising successful remediation projects, fungal projects have become our next largest service area.
Based on Tom Wise’s engineering project background, WISE specializes in remediation / abatement design and management for effective and budget conscious solutions to environmental issues. The firm is comprised of eight staff of industrial hygienists, licensed consultants, engineers and support professionals. The firm’s personnel have professional backgrounds that include engineering, construction management, and research which set us apart from most firms.
  • Remediation Design & Management
  • Environmental Analysis & Planning
  • Indoor Air Quality Management
  • Asbestos Clearance Testing
  • Residential & Commercial
  • Full Service Training for Contractors/Supervisors
  • Hazardous Waste Operations Management
  • Respirator Fit Testing & Training

Mold

(Fungi)

Ten Things You Should Know About Mold

1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.

2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.

4. Fix the course of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.

5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.

6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials, such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy may not need to be replaced.

8. Prevent condensation. Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e. windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.

9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e. by drinking fountains, classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).

10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

Common Sources of Mold

 Mold grows best in warm, damp and humid conditions. They spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, even dry weather, that do not support normal mold growth.

– Outdoors, mold can be found in shady, damp areas, or where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Indoors, they can be found in places where humidity is high, as in basements or showers.

MOLD Q & A

What are molds? Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.

What are some of the common Indoor Molds?

How do molds affect people? Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.

Where are molds found? Molds are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round. Mold growth is encouraged by warm and humid conditions. Outdoors they can be found in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Indoors they can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or showers.

How can people decrease mold exposure? Sensitive individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas. Inside homes, mold growth can be slowed by keeping humidity levels between 40% and 60%, and ventilating showers and cooking areas. If there is mold growth in your home, you should clean up the mold and fix the water problem. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water.

Specific Recommendations:

  • Keep the humidity level in the house between 40% and 60%.
  • Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
  • Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.
  • Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
  • Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.

What areas have high mold exposures? Antique shops, Greenhouses, Saunas, Farms, Mills, Construction areas, Flower shops, Summer cottages.

I found mold growing in my home, how do I test the mold? Generally, it is not necessary to identify the species of mold growing in a residence, and CDC does not recommend routine sampling for molds. Current evidence indicates that allergies are the type of diseases most often associated with molds. Since the susceptibility of individuals can vary greatly either because of the amount or type of mold, sampling and culturing are not reliable in determining your health risk. If you are susceptible to mold and mold is seen or smelled, there is a potential health risk; therefore, no matter what type of mold is present, you should arrange for its removal. Furthermore, reliable sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable or tolerable quantity of mold have not been established.

A qualified environmental lab took samples of the mold in my home and gave me the results. Can CDC interpret these results?Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable, or normal quantity of mold have not been established. If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the building’s characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.

My landlord or builder will not take any responsibility for cleaning up the mold in my home. Where can I go for help? If you feel your property owner, landlord, or builder has not been responsive to concerns you’ve expressed regarding mold exposure, you can contact your local board of health or housing authority. Applicable codes, insurance, inspection, legal, and similar issues about mold generally fall under state and local (not federal) jurisdiction. You could also review your lease or building contract and contact local or state government authorities, your insurance company, or an attorney to learn more about local codes and regulations and your legal rights. CDC does not have enforcement power in such matters, nor can we provide you with advice. You can contact your county or state health department about mold issues in your area to learn about what mold assessment and remediation services they may offer. You can find information on your state’s Indoor Air Quality program at http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/airpollution/indoor_air.htm

My landlord or builder will not take any responsibility for cleaning up the mold in my home. Where can I go for help? If you feel your property owner, landlord, or builder has not been responsive to concerns you’ve expressed regarding mold exposure, you can contact your local board of health or housing authority. Applicable codes, insurance, inspection, legal, and similar issues about mold generally fall under state and local (not federal) jurisdiction. You could also review your lease or building contract and contact local or state government authorities, your insurance company, or an attorney to learn more about local codes and regulations and your legal rights. CDC does not have enforcement power in such matters, nor can we provide you with advice. You can contact your county or state health department about mold issues in your area to learn about what mold assessment and remediation services they may offer. You can find information on your state’s Indoor Air Quality program at http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/airpollution/indoor_air.htm

I am very concerned about mold in my children's school and how it affects their health.

If you believe your children are ill because of exposure to mold in their school, first consult their health care provider to determine the appropriate medical action to take. Contact the school’s administration to express your concern and to ask that they remove the mold and prevent future mold growth. If needed, you could also contact the local school board.

CDC is not a regulatory agency and does not have enforcement authority in local matters. Your local health department may also have information on mold, and you may want to get in touch with your state Indoor Air Quality office. Information on this office is available at http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/airpollution/indoor_air.htm

You can also read the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, at http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/mold_remediation.html

©WISE Consulting & Training, Inc. 2011

Wise Consulting and Training (WISE) is an environmental consulting and training firm specializing in remediation / abatement design and management for buildings and other industrial facilities. The firm is comprised of a small but extremely qualified staff of industrial hygienists and support professionals. The industrial hygienists have professional backgrounds that include engineering, construction management, and research.The key personnel of WISE have Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) experience beginning in the late 1980’s and fungal (mold) projects experience beginning in the early
1990’s, when fungi was first becoming recognized as a contaminant in contemporary buildings. In the last five years the firm has completed over 1,000 fungal projects including projects for hospitals, schools, daycare and elderly facilities, professional offices, condominiums, apartments and hundreds of single family residences. The firm developed a Fungal Remediation Plan, using industry-leading techniques that has been used to direct remediation of over 500 sites. The firm also developed a fungal remediation workers course geared to providing contractors the knowledge, approach, and tools to effectively deal with fungal contamination, per U.S. EPA recommended procedures.

The following items summarize the approach, qualifications, and experience of WISE related to fungal projects:

  • Focus and Cost Effectiveness: Focus on identifying and resolving issues, not on needless testing and remediation.
  • Experience: Over 10 years on mold investigations, with 1,000 projects in the last 5 years.
  • Innovation: Developed Fungal Remediation Plan with industry leading techniques and exceptional success.
  • Training: Highly qualified industrial hygiene personnel teach courses for contractors, facility managers, and consultants.
  • Partnering: Team with industry leading microbiologists and doctors to correctly identify facility and personal health issues.
  • Respect: Exposure to fungal contamination can cause serious health effects, depending on the general health, sensitivity, and degree of exposure an individual experiences.
Contact WISE to receive additional information for project quotes. Generally, initial fungal investigations cost $600 to $1,200 for small sites. Insurance industry sources indicate average costs of more than $1,400.

ASBESTOS

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral. It is mined in much the same way that other miners, such as iron, lead, and copper are. Asbestos is composed of silicon, oxygen. hydrogen, and various metal cations (positively charged metal ions). There are many varieties of asbestos: the three most common are chrysotile, amosite. and crocidolite. Chrysotile fibers are pliable and cylindrical, and often arranged in bundles. Amosite and crocidolite fibers are like tiny needles. The first commercial asbestos mine—a chrysotile mine — opened in Quebec. Canada. in the 1870’s. Crocidolite asbestos was first mined in 1870’s Crocidolite asbestos was first mined in South Africa during the 1980’s. Amosite asbestos also comes from Africa and was first mined in 1916. Unlike most minerals, which turn into dust particles when crushed, asbestos breaks up in to fine fibers that are too small to be seen by the human eye. Often individual fibers are mixed with a material that binds them together. producing asbestos containing material (ACM).

Common Sources of Asbestos:

—Due to their heat-resistance and strength, asbestos fibers have been used in many products. Most of these are materials used in heat & acoustic insulation, fire proofing, and roofing & flooring. In 1989, the EPA identified asbestos product categories. The list can be found on the EPA website.

What do do if asbestos is found in your home.

—The first thing you should do if you notice asbestos in your home is to determine what condition the fibers are in. Asbestos-Containing Materials (ACM) that are in good condition should be left alone, since the only damaged fibers pose a threat to your health. If you do find damaged ACM, you should immediately isolate the area, refrain from further disturbing the material, and contact an asbestos professional for consultation. If you are unsure what condition the ACM is in, contact WISE (or other professional asbestos inspector) to sample and test the material. ACM does not necessarily need to be removed from your home, but it may be repaired by an asbestos professional through encapsulation or enclosure. Complete removal of asbestos is often unnecessary. Contact WISE at (775) 827-2717 for more information on an asbestos consultation for your home.

What is the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act?

—In 1986, the AHERA was signed into law. This Act requires public and private non-profit primary and secondary schools to inspect their buildings for Asbestos-Containing Building Materials (ACBM). The EPA requires these schools to have an Asbestos Management Plan in place to ensure that all ACBM remains in good condition, and is removed only to prevent significant exposure during renovation or demolition. WISE employs certified Management Planners to assist schools in developing and maintaining an Asbestos Management Plan in accordance with the AHERA. For more information on AHERA Asbestos Management Plans for Local Education Agencies, visit the EPA website or contact WISE at (775) 827-2717.

Publications of Interest

EPA Integrated Risk Information System: IRIS chronicles human health effects that may result in exposure to various substances (including asbestos) found in the environment.

Mine Safety & Health Administration: MSHA addresses asbestos issues as they relate to mining activities.

National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health: NIOSH is the Federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related disease or injury. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Occupational Safety & Health Administration: OSHA provides this Fact Sheet and Self-Inspection Checklist for the estimated 1.3 million employees in construction and general industry that face significant asbestos exposure in the workplace.

leuralmesothelioma.com has the most up to date and comprehensive information about Pleural Mesothelioma and asbestos exposure related cancer on the web today. Such as Mesothelioma Life Span and information ranging from a complete list of symptoms, to treatment options, and steps to take after a diagnosis.

Asbestos Q&A

How can asbestos affect children? We do not know if exposure to asbestos will result in birth defects or other developmental effects in people. Birth defects have not been observed in animals exposed to asbestos. It is likely that health effects seen in children exposed to high levels of asbestos will be similar to the effects seen in adults.

How can families reduce the risk of exposure to asbestos? Materials containing asbestos that are not disturbed or deteriorated do not, in general, pose a health risk and can be left alone. If you suspect that you may be exposed to asbestos in your home, contact your state or local health department or the regional offices of EPA to find out how to test your home and how to locate a company that is trained to remove or contain the fibers.

Is there a medical test to show whether I’ve been exposed to asbestos? Low levels of asbestos fibers can be measured in urine, feces, mucus, or lung washings of the general public. Higher than average levels of asbestos fibers in tissue can confirm exposure but not determine whether you will experience any health effects. A thorough history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests are needed to evaluate asbestos-related disease. Chest x-rays are the best screening tool to identify lung changes resulting from asbestos exposure. Lung function tests and CAT scans also assist in the diagnosis of asbestos-related disease.

Has the federal government made recommendations to protect human health? In 1989, EPA banned all new uses of asbestos; uses established before this date are still allowed. EPA established regulations that require school systems to inspect for damaged asbestos and to eliminate or reduce the exposure by removing the asbestos or by covering it up. EPA regulates the release of asbestos from factories and during building demolition or renovation to prevent asbestos from getting into the environment.
EPA has proposed a concentration limit of 7 million fibers per liter of drinking water for long fibers (lengths greater than or equal to 5 µm). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set limits of 100,000 fibers with lengths greater than or equal to 5 µm per cubic meter of workplace air for 8-hour shifts and 40-hour work weeks. References: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 2001. Toxicological Profile for Asbestos. Update. Atlanta, GA: U.S.Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.

Lead

Childhood Lead Poisoning

The CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is committed to the goal of eliminating elevated blood lead levels in children. Approximately 250,000 children in the U.S. between the ages of 1 and 5 have blood lead levels greater than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. This is the level at which the CDC recommends public health actions be taken. Lead Poisoning is entirely preventable. The goal is to prevent lead exposure in children before the children are harmed. Children under the age of 6 are the most at risk because they grow so rapidly, and they tend to put their hands and other objects in their mouths. These objects may be contaminated with lead dust. Here are some tips to reduce your child’s risk of Lead Poisoning.
  • Determine the construction year of your house, and any other dwelling where your child spends a large amount of time. If the building was constructed prior to 1978, assume the paint has lead until tests show otherwise. WISE is certified to test for lead levels in residences.
  • Pregnant women & children should not occupy housing built before 1978 that is undergoing any renovation that may disturb old paint.
  • Regularly wash your child’s hands and toys. Stay up to date with toy recalls due to the use of lead-based paint by visiting Lead Paint Toy Recalls (http://leadtoyrecalls.com/)
  • Household dust is a major source of lead. Wet-mop floors & wet-wipe window components every 2-3 weeks.
  • Prevent children from playing in bare oil. Please grass on areas of bare soil if possible. If using a sandbox, cover the box when not in use to prevent cats from using it as a litter box.
  • Avoid using containers, cookware, or tableware that are not shown to be lead-free.
  • Use only cold water from the tap for drinking, cooking, and making baby formula. Hot water typically contains higher levels of lead.
  • Shower and change your clothes after completion of any task that involves working with lead-based products, such as stain glass work, bullet-making, or using a firing range.

Planning to buy or rent a home built before 1978?

Federal law requires that you receive certain information before renting or purchasing a home built prior to 1978. Landlords must disclose any known information on lead-based paint before the lease tasks effect. Leases must include a disclosure form about lead-based paint. Sellers must disclose any known information on lead-based paint before selling a house. Sales contracts are required to include a disclosure form about lead-based paint. As the buyer, you have up to 10 (ten) days to check for lead hazards. For assistance in checking for lead hazards, contact one of our consultants before buying a new home.

Besides pre-1978 homes, where can lead be found?

  • In the soil, which can pick up lead from exterior paint.
  • Drinking water. Your house’s plumbing could have lead or lead solder. Contact your local health department or water supplier to find out about getting your water tested. Boiling your water will not get rid of lead. If you think your plumbing has lead in it, use only cold water for drinking &

cooking, and run water for 15 to 30 seconds before drinking it.

  • If you work with lead, you could bring it home on your hands or clothes. Before coming home, shower and change clothes to reduce your family’s exposure to lead

What is the Lead problem?

-Approximately 310,000 children aged 1-5 years have blood lead levelsgreater than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, the level at which the CDC recommends public health actions be initiated. Lead poisoning can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead poisoning often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it can frequently go unrecognized. Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, behavior problems, and, at very high levels, seizures, coma, and even death. Lead poisoning is entirely preventable. The key is stopping children from coming into contact with lead, and treating children who have been poisoned by lead.

-The goal is to prevent lead exposure to children before they are harmed. There are many ways parents can reduce a child’s exposure to lead.

Common Sources of Lead

-Lead-based paint is the major source of exposure for lead in U.S. children. All houses built before 1978 are likely to contain some lead-based paint. However, it is the deterioration of the paint that causes a problem.

For More Information

EPA – Lead-Based Paint Resource Center
EPA & National Head Start Association’s “Give Your Child the Chance of a Lifetime” Campaign
National Lead Information Center

Lead Q&A

What is the problem? Approximately 310,000 U.S. children aged 1-5 years have blood lead levels greater than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, the level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated.

Lead poisoning can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead poisoning often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and, at very high levels, seizures, coma, and even death.

How are children exposed to lead? The major source of lead exposure among U.S. children is lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978. However, approximately 24 million housing units in the United States have deteriorated leaded paint and elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust. More than 4 million of these dwellings are homes to one or more young children.

Other sources of lead poisoning are related to:

  • Hobbies (making stained-glass windows)
  • Work (recycling or making automobile batteries)
  • Drinking water (lead pipes, solder, brass fixtures, valves can all leach lead)
  • Home health remedies (azarcon and greta, which are used for upset stomach or indigestion; pay-loo-ah, which is used for rash or fever).

The US EPA Website has a very good Lead-Based Paint (LBP) resource center. It is dedicated to keeping the public informed regarding EPA’s LBP program activities and products.

Training Courses EPA has developed training courses to instruct individuals in the use of lead-safe work practices during renovation and remodeling, as well as courses for lead-based paint abatement, inspection, and risk assessments.

How-To References Useful resources that provide information about how to safely conduct projects involving lead-based paint.

Technical Studies Scientific and technical data and information concerning amounts of lead in the environment, elevated levels of lead in children, the presence of LBP hazards and controlling LBP and related hazards.

Outreach Campaigns and Materials To foster adoption of the new measures, EPA launched an education and outreach campaign promoting use of lead-safe work practices. EPA’s analysis indicated that renovation, repair and painting projects in housing and child-occupied facilities that are likely to contain lead-based paint affect 1.4 million children under age six annually. The new requirements are key components of a comprehensive federal effort to eliminate childhood lead poisoning. These include programs to educate parents and caregivers to keep their housing clean and well-maintained, to make sure their young children wash their hands frequently and eat nutritious food, and to talk to their doctor about testing young children for lead poisoning. Read more about the new rule for renovation, repair and painting to protect against lead poisoning Read the fact sheet on renovation.

Brochures and Posters Commonly used education materials for informing individuals and families on the dangers of LBP, child lead poisoning, lead testing techniques, LBP hazards and prevention.

Lead in Toy Jewelry Useful information about lead in toy jewelry. Young children often put objects in their mouths. When those objects, such as toy jewelry, contain lead, a child can suffer from lead poisoning.

Grants EPA provides funds, in the form of grants, for public and private organizations to help achieve the goal of eliminating childhood lead poisoning by the year 2010.

Links Provides links to the EPA lead hotline, databases, additional EPA offices dedicated to fighting lead-poisoning, and non-EPA lead related resources.

©WISE Consulting & Training, Inc. 2011

Radon

What is Radon?

Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. Its presence in your home can pose a danger to your family’s health. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America, and claims about 20,000 lives annually.

Radon Myths & Facts

NEVADA on the Map – The purpose of this map is to assist National, State, and local organizations to target their resources and to implement radon-resistant building codes. This map is not intended to be used to determine if a home in a given zone should be tested for radon. Homes with elevated levels of radon have been found in all three zones. All homes should be tested regardless of geographic location. Important points to note:
  • All homes should test for radon, regardless of geographic location or zone designation
  • There are many thousands of individual homes with elevated radon levels in Zone 2 and 3. Elevated levels can be found in Zone 2 and Zone 3 counties.
  • All users of the map should carefully review the map documentation for information on within-county variations in radon potential and supplement the map with locally available information before making any decisions.
  • The map is not to be used in lieu of testing during real estate transactions.

Zone 1 counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level greater than 4 pCi/L (pico curies per liter) (red zones)

Highest Potential

Zone 2 counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level between 2 and 4 pCi/L (orange zones)

Moderate Potential

Zone 3 counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level less than 2 pCi/L (yellow zones)

Low Potential

MYTH: Scientists are not sure that radon really is a problem.

FACT: Although some scientists dispute the precise number of deaths due to radon, all the major health organizations (like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Lung Association and the American Medical Association) agree with estimates that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths every year. This is especially true among smokers, since the risk to smokers is much greater than to non-smokers.

MYTH: Radon testing is difficult, time-consuming and expensive.

FACT: Radon testing is easy. You can test your home yourself or hire a qualified radon test company. Either approach takes only a small amount of time and effort.

MYTH: Radon testing devices are not reliable and are difficult to find.

FACT: Reliable testing devices are available from qualified radon testers and companies. Reliable testing devices are also available by phone or mail-order, and can be purchased in hardware stores and other retail outlets. Call your state radon office for help in identifying radon testing companies.

MYTH: Homes with radon problems can’t be fixed.

FACT: There are simple solutions to radon problems in homes. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners have already fixed radon problems in their homes. Radon levels can be readily lowered for $800 to $2,500 (with an average cost of $1,200).. Call your state radon office for help in identifying qualified mitigation contractors.

MYTH: Radon affects only certain kinds of homes.

FACT: House construction can affect radon levels. However, radon can be a problem in homes of all types: old homes, new homes, drafty homes, insulated homes, homes with basements, and homes without basements. Local geology, construction materials, and how the home was built are among the factors that can affect radon levels in homes.

MYTH: Radon is only a problem in certain parts of the country.

FACT: High radon levels have been found in every state. Radon problems do vary from area to area, but the only way to know your radon level is to test.

MYTH: A neighbor’s test result is a good indication of whether your home has a problem.

FACT: High radon levels have been found in every state. Radon problems do vary from area to area, but the only way to know your radon level is to test.

MYTH: Radon affects only certain kinds of homes.

FACT: High radon levels have been found in every state. Radon problems do vary from area to area, but the only way to know your radon level is to test.

MYTH: A neighbor’s test result is a good indication of whether your home has a problem.

FACT: It’s not. Radon levels can vary greatly from home to home. The only way to know if your home has a radon problem is to test it.

MYTH: Everyone should test their water for radon.

FACT: Although radon gets into some homes through water, it is important to first test the air in the home for radon. If your water comes from a public water supply that uses ground water, call your water supplier. If high radon levels are found and the home has a private well, call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1 800-426-4791 for information on testing your water.

MYTH: It’s difficult to sell homes where radon problems have been discovered.

FACT: Where radon problems have been fixed, home sales have not been blocked or frustrated. The added protection is some times a good selling point.

MYTH: I’ve lived in my home for so long, it doesn’t make sense to take action now.

FACT: You will reduce your risk of lung cancer when you reduce radon levels, even if you’ve lived with a radon problem for a long time

MYTH: Short-term tests can’t be used for making a decision about whether to fix your home.

FACT: A short-term test, followed by a second short-term test* can be used to decide whether to fix your home. However, the closer the average of your two short-term tests is to 4 pCi/L, the less certain you can be about whether your year-round average is above or below that level. Keep in mind that radon levels below 4 pCi/L still pose some risk. Radon levels can be reduced in most homes to 2 pCi/L or below.

* If the radon test is part of a real estate transaction, the result of two short-term tests can be used in deciding whether to mitigate. For more information, see EPA’s “Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon“.

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