Do I need to test for RADON?
If you live and serve the Real Estate industry in Colorado…anywhere in Colorado…you know the need to test, for every transaction, for RADON Gas. The initial test is called a SCREENING TEST. It is just to determine if RADON is present in the dwelling unit in quantities above background levels, or above “action” levels. If the house is already mitigated for RADON gas, then the mitigation should be inspected, the home “screen-tested” and a CERTIFICATION REPORT or CERTIFICATE OF PROPER OPERATION should be issued.
Common Real Estate Practices Expanded
You’re a Real Estate professional; your time is valuable, and a RADON test is just one more “hoop” to jump through to get the sale completed. It’s a bother, we know. And the current practice is to order a mitigation for anything above 4.0 pCi/L. This is done primarily because long-term testing could kill a sale, but some owners won’t readily install; moreover, a quick installation is only that….a QUICK installation. It LOOKS like a mitigations system, but the quickies are seldom retested after a week to see if they are really working, and a CERTIFICATE OF SAFE OPERATION is rarely, if ever, issued on a QUICKIE mitigation. You, the Real Estate Professional feel you have done your due diligence and performed properly for your client-seller and the buyer; but, if a buyer closes, and moves in, then retests the home and it is still over 4.0 pCi/L, the law suits start flying and you wind up getting caught up in it all.
We put it to you, the Real Estate Professional that, “…if you would like to avoid all that mess, insist on a retest of any mitigation system AND a CERTIFICATE OF PROPER OPERATION for anything over 10.0 pCi/L; but, for homes that test between 4.0 pCi/L and 10.0 pCi/L have $2,000 saved in an escrow account to cover the cost of a mitigation system installation, and have a long-term test initiated for 90- to 120-days. If the long-term test proves to be above 4.0 pCi/L then the home is mitigated and the cost paid out of escrow and the remainder is paid back to the seller. If the buyer decided not to install a mitigation system, the entire escrow fund is paid back to the seller.
What is the recommended SAFE level for RADON Gas?
There is NO SAFE LEVEL OF RADON GAS. The USEPA openly admits this. However, limits need to be met or mitigations would occur willy nilly! Many, many factors enter into the health hazard equation.
1. Do you Smoke?
2. Do you actively live in the affected space?
3. Is the affected space only occasionally used?
4. Are there windows or doors to the outside environment in the affected space?
5. Are you immuno-compromised?
6. Concentration of RADON Gas.
7. Length of time for direct exposure.
8. Differences in Homo Sapiens genetic propensity toward cancer, particularly lung cancer.
Just to name a few. The calculation is extremely complicated, and there are many more factors than just the eight listed above.
What do my testing numbers mean?
Firstly, RADON is measured in Pico Curies per Liter or: pCi/L
This is a measure of how much RADON gas is in a single liter of breathable air.
Testing Result => USEPA Recommended Action
0.0 – 4.0 pCi/L => No action required…no health hazard
4.0 – 9.9 pCi/L => This is high enough to warrant either additional long term testing, or go direct to mitigation. Health hazard possible.
10.0 – more => Go directly to mitigation…health hazard imminent
What do I tell the owner of the house I want, to do if levels are above 4.0 pCi/L?
The table above is very clear when it comes to 10.0 pCi/L or more. The gray area is 4.0 to 9.9 pCi/L; here, there is a choice to test for the long term to get an idea of exactly how much RADON there is in the affected space on average, over time. But there is a genuine concern about closing: a time constraint. For this issue there is an Escrow Account and simple Escrow instructions.
What about Escrow??
To make certain that no money is needlessly demanded of the seller nor spent, and that a mitigation system is not HASTILY thrown together, a simple escrow instruction is all that is needed. This way, a long-term test may be immediately initiated. If the consultant does not recommend mitigation after the long term test based on your living habits an the construction of the dwelling, the escrow returns the held money back to the seller. If mitigation is recommended, the buyer finds a competent mitigation installer and pays the money directly to the consultant and a mitigation system is installed.
Who do I trust with this horrendous health threat?
Currently in Colorado, there is no certification required to perform either testing and evaluation, or mitigation. It may be disturbing to note that as high as 97% of those who are actively engaged in RADON testing and mitigation have no higher education degree. If they have a degree, it is most likely NOT in either geology or environmental science. Ask yourself this question, “…do I really want an uneducated ‘technician’ conducting testing for a hazardous material in my living environment, who has only a rudimentary knowledge of that hazardous material?”
What does Certification REALLY Mean?
So-called CERTIFICATION is conducted through PRIVATE COMPANIES! CERTIFICATION is NOT performed through any government agency or public school in Colorado. Moreover, there are two PRIVATE, Incorporated, corporations who have set themselves up as the sole source and authority for all things dealing with RADON.
Mind you, these are the same private corporations who have numerous subsidiary companies that build most of the testing and mitigation equipment that the so-called EXPERTS say is what should be used in the industry, and using ONLY the procedures and construction techniques that THEY recommend.
Nothing is being said here, but is there the possibility that obvious conflicts of interest may at some point drive the RECOMMENDED materials and methods?
CERTIFICATION is a 40-hour course. That is 8 hours a day for 5 days. PERIOD! It deals with all of the RECOMMENDED private company methods and materials produced by the subsidiaries of the certification AUTHORITIES.
THERE IS NO OVERSIGHT OF CERTIFIED INDIVIDUALS TO SEE IF THEY ARE PERFORMING THEIR JOB OPTIMALLY.
THERE IS NO PROCEDURE IN PLACE TO IMMEDIATELY REMOVE A CERTIFICATION FOR ANY CERTIFIED INDIVIDUAL MAKING ERRORS ON A REGULAR BASIS.
SO THE CERTIFICATION IS WHOLLY MEANINGLESS!!!