Radon Test 2014 Results

CitizenRadon Watch LG sm

UPDATE: The 2014 radon test period is now closed.
Thank you to all who participated! If you missed it, please sign up for email alerts and we’ll make sure you’re part of the 2015 test next year.

For the third year in a row, Sane Energy Project’s Citizen Radon Watch program made hundreds of radon test kits available FREE to citizen volunteers. The test program measures levels of radon in kitchen gas because, at this time, no governmental agency is testing the gas supply for radon. Donations to offset the costs of the program are greatly appreciated!

The EPA actionable level for radon is 4pc/L (picocuries per liter), and the World Health Organization (WHO) sets the actionable level at 2pc/L, so results above 1pc/L get our attention.

We’re pleased to report that this year’s results were almost universally as low as possible, with a reading of <0.3 pc/L (less than .3 picocuries per liter) accounting for the vast number (92%) of results. This is more or less consistent with results from 2012 and 2013. These are the kinds of readings we WANT in NYC, and we want official monitoring in place to make sure it STAYS this low.

In past years, some homes, particularly on Staten Island, showed high readings when tests were done on the first floor of the home (potentially indicating the tests were picking up ground radon). What was interesting this year was that, of those apartments that showed levels higher than .3pc/L, several were on higher floors. We don’t really know why this would be.

Even the higher test results this year were still very low (none exceeded 1.1pc/L), and considered “safe” by EPA standards. Radon readings at this level could be mitigated by opening windows when cooking, or otherwise increasing ventilation. We would urge test participants not to panic even if they received results above .3pc/L.

Because the Spectra and Harlem Transco pipes only went online in November of 2013, and the gas supply is still mixed with supplies from distant shale plays, we expected levels would remain as low as they have been before, and that turns out to be the case. What we don’t know is how or if this will change as the gas supply continues to change, and as the full extent of the drilling buildout in the Marcellus continues. That’s why we want systems in place to monitor it BEFORE it becomes a public health risk.

We are hoping to have a scientific test system in place by next January (2015) rather than a volunteer citizen test, or better yet, to have the Rosenthal Radon Bill signed into law and have utilities doing this monitoring. We appreciate you calling your state reps to urge them to sponsor the bill (A6863-A/S4921-B).

What you need to know:
1) Why Radon is a risk.
2) How to support the Rosenthal Radon Bill (sign the petition here.)
3) How the radon test is done. (Watch this video for a demonstration.)

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