Real Estate Sales – Radon
In most instances, California and Nevada lead the way for regulation and laws to protect its consumers. This is not the case when it comes to radon. Many states require that a home is below the EPA’s action level for it to transfer. It is a common practice in many areas of the country to build new homes with radon-resistant techniques. There are no such laws in Nevada or California, so it is a real estate professional’s job to provide information about these hazards to their customers and clients.
Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths in the US, according to the EPA and CDC. It is inevitable that people will be exposed to some levels of radon, as very low levels are in the outside environment. It becomes a problem when we construct a building that traps this gas. It is heavy and comes from the earth so that it will settle to the lower level of a home, with less concentration in upper levels. A short-term measurement (2-7 days) will give you an average measured in picocuries. If levels are 4.0 picocuries or higher, mitigation is recommended.
Most areas in Nevada, the entire Lake Tahoe basin and Truckee have a high incidence of elevated radon in homes. If you are not at least advising your clients about this hazard, you could face future liability. It is recommended to become familiar with the process, so you can sound knowledgeable when you discuss this possible issue with your clients and customers. Under no circumstances should you use the maps below when discussing whether to test a home.
Any home in the Tahoe area can have a radon issue. It is often the way the home is constructed that will have the greatest influence on radon levels. This is why a neighbor’s average is not a good predictor of levels in your customer’s home. Vacant land can be tested, though the results can be ambiguous, because it doesn’t consider the potential impact of the home. It is not necessary to find a lot with low radon, instead the home should be constructed with a passive radon system in place.
Below are links to pages with additional information on radon, radon mitigation, and testing.