Learn about radon in Portland, OR and the surrounding area.
Radon is a risk to most people living in or around Portland. Levels of indoor radon in Portland and the surrounding area can greatly vary between homes. Radon itself is a radioactive gas which can cause lung damage. It is the second leading cause of lung disease behind smoking. Radon testing is the only way to determine if you have high indoor radon levels.
Radon comes into homes from the soil. It can penetrate walls, concrete, plastic, many common building materials. As a radioactive gas it enters the body through the lungs once it enters the home. There are a number of ways to greatly reduce radon gas levels inside a home, and many of them involve a fan which moves the radon gas away from inside the home.
The radon in portland comes from uranium in granite in the ground. This granite was deposited in the Willamette valley during the Missoula Floods about 15,000 years ago. The uranium is undergoing radioactive decay towards lead and the release of radon occurs in this process. The radon only lasts a few days before decaying itself, but during that time it can cause lasting genetic damage.
Government agencies within Oregon have published location based risk factors, we host that data below in order to make it easier for you.
Level of Radon in Portland by Area
High radon in portland area homes can be in these images. Most areas in Portland are at high or moderate risk for indoor radon levels. The Portland Radon Maps seen here are from multiple sources.
The map of radon in Portland is based on radon tests and reflects the source of radon in the Portland area. This Portland radon map shows a similar result as the one above it.
There is also a ZIP code list with risk levels, this is a downloadable PDF which can be found by clicking here. Radon testing is easy and it can help you or your family stay healthy.
We can see how homes over 450′ elevation were hit less by the Missoula floods. This image contains very interesting information and graphics about the Missoula floods. The data from a LIDAR map of the Portland area gives valuable insight.
You don’t have to buy a home to get a radon test! Any time you live somewhere and you don’t know the radon level then that is a good time to get a test. Radon testing is easy!
A homeowner can perform the test themselves or hire someone to do it. These home tests are easy ways to test for the presence of radon at all, but they don’t give a highly detailed view of the situation. In addition, if radon levels are high a company who mitigates it will want to perform their own test before and after.
A professional radon test is done by putting a small monitor in the lowest livable space of the home. The test should be at least 3 feet from any exterior walls of the home, and not in the direct aim of a fan or furnace. These test take at least 48 hours and measure the radon level in every hour or on a continuous model. The radon test wants to get an accurate representation of the radon normally in the house. To ensure this all doors and windows are kept shut during the test; except normal entry and exit. Newer radon detectors can connect with the weather station and detect cheating if a seller tries to open a bunch of windows after the test has started.
The metrics of the test are in picocuries per liter or pCi/L. Evidence shows health dangers for people living with indoor radon levels above the action limit. The action level with the EPA in the USA is 4.0, the action level with the WHO is is 2.7
What to do about a high radon level
A high radon result can be a cause for concern, however is most cases it’s easy enough to mitigate. There are a number of ways to do this which mostly depend on the structure itself. The main goal is to remove toxic air, normally using an active fan to move it away from the inside of the home. When installed on existing homes it’s standard practice to place part of the system on the side of the home.
Depending on the structure of the home this may be as simple as a suction point in the crawl space or under the foundation slab which connects to a pipe with an in-line fan. Obviously a combination of high quality vapor barriers and depressurization are the most effective methods to reduce radon levels. However in most cases the fan system can greatly reduce indoor radon levels. Radon mitigation in Portland is very easy, and only a matter of cost and scheduling.
A company that specializes in radon mitigation can install a radon reduction system for you. These system typically start at around $1,500. How do we know all this? The lead locator of Rush Locates, Jack, spent a few years working for a company that performed these services. Learn more about what he is doing now by clicking here.
In summary, radon can cause lung cancer so get a test because it’s very common in the area. Radon levels can greatly vary between one house and another even in the same area. It’s in your best interests to do this for yourself.
Learn more about Radon
Still want to learn more about radon? Check out the OHA website about it, and the source for some of these graphics. Click Here! More on the LIDAR image itself, click here. Or to read the informative Oregon Live article on it, click here.
Here is the EPA’s article on radon with a recommended action level of4 pCi/L. This means that if you have over that lever in a test then the Environmental Protection Agency recommends a radon reduction system be install. Here is corresponding article from the WHO which has an action level of 100 becquerels (Bq), which corresponds to 2.7 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).
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