KGW News has recently published an article addressing radon levels in Portland. The full article can be found HERE. KGW mentions numerous zip codes around the city that are showing elevated radon levels compared to testing recorded in previous years.
This is significant because radon, as the article mentions, is one of the nation’s leading causes of lung cancer. Radon off-gasses from granite deposits underground; while its occurrence does display a pattern in Portland, the irregular deposits of granitic bedrock in the city’s crust make it difficult to predict with 100% accuracy which homes will be affected by radon. In the Pacific Northwest, the Missoula Floods swept chunks of granite throughout the Willamette Valley during the last Ice Age, depositing granite boulders that are currently buried below many of our city’s houses. This can result in one home in a neighborhood having elevated radon levels while another home across the street will be almost completely unaffected by radon.
Radon can be tested for in a few ways. In the context of a real estate inspection period, we utilize the short term 48 hour testing provided by many inspection companies. For homeowners, there are inexpensive long term tests available at many hardware stores. If a home does have elevated radon, radon contractors have become very adept at installing relatively cheap and long-term mitigation systems to lower the property’s radon levels.
Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions on radon!