RADON  

 

Radon test kits are available from the Town of Menasha.  You can pick them up at the Town of Menasha Municipal Building at 2000 Municipal Drive.  The kits are available at the Community Development counter.  Our normal hours are 8:00a.m. to 4:30p.m., Monday through Friday.

 

Short-term test kits:  $5.00 each (includes tax)

(Long-term test kits:  Available at www.drhomeair.com)

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is radon?

Radon is a gas that originates from naturally-occurring uranium in the soil.  It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and is therefore not detectable with human senses. 

 

What health concerns are there from radon?

Radon gas itself is not the issue.  The concern is with what the radon gas becomes after 3.8 days.  It becomes a charged radioactive particle that is attracted to anything solid, such as dust particles in the air.  When we breathe, we inhale those dust particles, and the radioactive particles can enter your lungs.  Radon is the number two cause of lung cancer.

 

How do I know if I have radon in my home?

The only way to know if it exists in your home is to test for it using special radon test kits. 

 

How do I test for radon?

The Town of Menasha has short-term test kits available for purchase for $5 each (taxes included).   The kits are designed to be used over a 48 hour period, after which time they are to be sent to the lab for processing.

 

Where do I place the test kit in my home?

The test kit should be placed in the lowest lived-in level of your home.  If you have a basement and use it more than a few minute a week (i.e., if you have a family room, rec room, hobby room, bedroom, etc.), you should place it in the basement.  If you don’t use the basement often (or don’t have a basement), it should be placed on the first floor.  Kits should not be placed in areas of high humidity (kitchen, bathroom, laundry, etc.), and should be kept away from areas of significant airflow (doors, windows, vents, etc.)  The test kit instructions will have more information as for specific placement.

 

What do I do when the testing is finished?

Simply seal the packet and send it to the lab.  The envelope packet is already addressed with the correct postage.  The results should be mailed to you in about one week.  You can also check the results online at the test kit vendor’s website (www.drhomeair.com) using the testing kit number from the packet.

 

I have my results.  Now what?

If your results are less than 4.0 pCi/L (picoCuries per Liter), you do not need to do anything further at this time.  It is recommended that you perform another test in a few years.

 

If your results are 4.0 pCi/L up to 8.0 pCi/L, it is recommended that a second test be performed.  The EPA recommends that this second test be with a long-term test kit (available at www.drhomeair.com).  If the results of this second test are still over 4.0 pCi/L, it is recommended that you take action to mitigate.

 

If your results are over 8.0 pCi/L, it is recommended that a second short-term test be performed.  If the results of this second test are similar to the first test, it is recommended that you take action to mitigate.

 

How do I mitigate?

Mitigation is the method by which radon levels are lowered in your home.  There are several steps you can perform yourself.  For example, you can seal up all the cracks in your basement walls and floor, as well as attaching a cover to your sump pit.  However, in most cases of elevated radon levels (i.e., 4.0 pCi/L or higher), these steps will be insufficient to bring your levels to below 4.0 pCi/L.  They will help, but are usually not enough. 

 

There are several methods used by mitigation contractors.  For existing homes, the most common is active sub-slab depressurization.  This method involves drilling a hole in the concrete basement floor slab, digging out a small cavity below the slab, running a PVC pipe from that hole to above the roofline of the house, and installing a small fan at the top of the pipe to pull the air from underneath the slab.  By digging a hole and drawing air out from under the basement slab, a pocket of low pressure is created beneath the house, which is opposite to the usual situation of the house having lower pressure than the ground beneath the house.  Radon gases want to be in an area of low air pressure, and will move from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure.  With the mitigation system in place and running, the radon gases are kept in the low pressure cavity and are less likely to move into the higher pressure of the house.

 

For further mitigation information, contact one of the mitigation contractors as certified by the State of Wisconsin.  There is a list of certified contractors at the State’s radon website.

 

My neighbor tested for radon, and his/her results were under 4.0 pCi/L.  Does this mean my home is OK?

Unfortunately, no.  Radon levels can vary greatly from home to home, neighbor to neighbor.  The level of radon in your home is determined by the level of uranium in the soil under your home, which can be very different from the level of uranium under your neighbor’s home.  That also means that if your neighbor’s radon result was over 4.0 pCi/L, your home’s radon level may not be elevated.  Again, the only way to be sure is to test your home.

 

 

If you have further questions, contact the Town at (920) 720-7104, or send an email to [email protected].

 

 

TEST RESULTS INFORMATION

(January 2002 through December 2008)

 

Town of Menasha

Overall

Kits sold

878

2148

Test results received

576

1344

Results below 4.0 pCi/L

187 (32%)

474 (35%)

Results 4.0 pCi/L and higher

389 (68%)

870 (65%)

Average

7.0 pCi/L

7.0 pCi/L

 

Town of Menasha results map

Winnebago County results map

 

 

RADON LINKS

Air Check, Inc. (old test kit vendor)

Air Check, Inc. -- Test kit results look-up (for old test kits)

Alpha Energy Labs/Dr. Home Air (new test kit vendor)

Alpha Energy Labs/Dr. Home Air -- Test kit results look-up (for new test kits)

CanSAR (Cancer Survivors Against Radon)

Radon-Ease, Inc.

State of Wisconsin -- Radon website

State of Wisconsin -- Radon Mitigation Contractor Proficiency List

United States EPA -- Radon website

United States EPA -- Citizen’s Guide to Radon (PDF)

United States EPA -- Radon Publications

World Health Organization – Radon website

 

 

Since 2002, the Town of Menasha Community Development Department and the Winnebago County Health Department have cooperated to obtain a mini-grant available via the State of Wisconsin Bureau of Environmental Health to support local radon projects.  This website is a further effort to provide the public with information about radon, its effects, how to test for it, and basic mitigation procedures.  This website and its content do not constitute an endorsement of any products, companies, services, or individuals.

 

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