• So, what is radon all about?

    It's on television. It's in the newspapers. It's on billboards.


    Portland has a radon issue, and it is not going away. The soil in the Willamette Valley containsgranite, brought down the Columbia River from Montana over 10,000 years ago. This granite contains uranium, which breaks down naturally and produces radon gas.

    Invisible and odorless, radon is drawn upward into our homes by the relatively lower pressure found in the structure above. The only way to know you have an issue is to test your home, using an inexpensive kit purchased at your local hardware store.

    So why all the fuss?

    Almost 40 years ago, medical research connected long-term exposure to high levels of radon with lung cancer. An estimated 22,000 fatalities are attributed annually to radon in the United States. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, behind only cigarette smoking, and the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers.

    Testing is simple, and can be done for under $30. Based upon the results, a homeowner can decidewhether to seek out a certified mitigation firm. Mitigation involves installing a system to counteract the house's upward influence on radon. A depressurization system will "hold" the gas beneath the house, draw it to a collection point, then vent it to the exterior of the house and above the roofline.

    For most single family homes, mitigation will cost between $1,500 and $2,000.

    Radon. It's a Portland problem. Not all homes will test high; any given house can test low, even when your neighbor tested their home and found it to be moderate or high. To know for certain, both EPA and the Surgeon General's Office recommend every home in America should be tested for radon, regardless of location. Test your home, protect your family, safeguard your health.

    A huge thank you guest blogger, Jim Bittner, of Cascade Radon. Jim shared more about Radon at the October Community meeting, and is happy to talk to Portsmouth neighbors more about your radon concerns, and testing and solution needs and questions. Jim can be reached at (360) 721-3967 or jim@cascaderadon.com.