Where Does Radon Exist?
If you are reading this post while indoors, there is most likely some level of radon in the structure you are currently in. If you are reading this in the great outdoors, there is still some level of radon in your surrounding environment. Therefore, it is important to know that radon exists at various levels in every environment both inside and out. This post on our blog includes a map that shows an overview of levels throughout the United States. Let’s take a closer look at levels in Florida.
Radon Levels in Florida
There is a somewhat common misconception that radon does not exist in Florida. Florida may have overall lower potential levels compared to states up north, but there is still a potential for a home or structure to have what would be considered an unsafe level of radon gas. The map below from the Florida Department of Health shows each county in Florida with a color that represents the zone it is in.
Zone 1 counties have a predicted level above the EPA’s safe limit of 4.0 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. Counties in Zone 2 have a predicted level between 2.0 pCi/L and 4.0 pCi/L. Zone 3 counties have a predicted level below 2.0 pCi/L.
Levels in the Tampa Bay Region
The map above shows that Hillsborough County (where Tampa is) is in Zone 2. Homes and structures in this region are predicted to have radon levels between 2.0 pCi/L and the EPA’s safe limit of 4.0 pCi/L. Our company has performed tests within Hillsborough County that have been below, within, and above the predicted range. One home that we tested had a reading of 28! Polk County (the large red county near the center of the state) is in Zone 1. There is a higher chance that homes tested in this county will have a level greater than 4.0 pCi/L. The key takeaway from this is that any home can have any level of radon regardless of where it is located. The home that we tested in Hillsborough with a reading of 28 pCi/L could have a home next door with a level of 1.5 pCi/L.
Where does it come from?
Radon gas is produced when naturally occurring uranium undergoes radioactive decay. This decaying uranium exists in soil and rocks and can be found in water and building materials too. In an outdoor environment the gas that is produced dissipates in the air and is not of much concern. But indoors the gas can enter a home or structure through cracks in the foundation and other entry points. Over time the gas builds up inside the structure and does not have a way to dissipate. This can potentially lead to a high level of radon gas and health effects over time.
What to do next?
The first thing to do is have a radon test done if you haven’t already. This post outlines the different types of tests and will help you determine which fits your needs. If you have conducted a test and need remediation, this post goes into more detail about the process and potential costs.