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Does Florida have radon?
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Radon is a radioactive gas that is produced by radium deposits, which are in the soil everywhere on earth, usually in a small amount. So a little radon gas is in the air we breathe every day. Most of Florida has minor amounts of radium in the soil and, consequently, low radon levels.
But a few parts in the state, including our own Alachua and Marion counties, have places with higher radium deposits and corresponding higher radon levels. Because radon causes lung damage that can lead to cancer, a high radon level inside your home can increase your risk of lung cancer. It is named by the CDC as the second-leading cause of lung cancer, behind cigarettes.
The maps show Alachua and Marion, along with an overall map of the state. Color-coded areas indicate where there is a higher likelihood of elevated radon (red), medium (yellow), and low chance (green). The map was prepared by the Florida Department of Health, which interprets the colors slightly differently: red indicates areas where active radon controls are recommended, yellow means passive radon control is advised, and green means that no radon control system is generally necessary. Alachua has a much larger red area, which basically runs north-south along I-75, and east-west along Newberry Road and University Avenue.
As you can see, the red and yellow zones are small in relation to the size of the state. A radon map is available for downloading at the Florida Department of Health website at http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/radon/maps/protection-maps.html for each of the following counties: Alachua, Brevard, Charlotte, De Soto, Gadsden, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Leon, Manatee, Marion, Osceola, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, and Seminole.
The Department of Health also maintains a database of the percentage of homes in each zip code in Florida that have had their indoor radon level tested and the results reached or exceeded the 4.0 pico-curies per liter of air level at which active controls (mitigation) is recommended. You can check your zip code at http://dchpexternalapps.doh.state.fl.us/radon/default.aspx.
Some zip codes have not had enough tests to provide statistical accuracy of the percentage results. Also, it’s important to note that both the radon maps and zip code percentages only tell you the odds of whether your particular home may have an elevated indoor radon level. The only way to be sure is to test.
Also, see our blog posts How can not testing for radon be an expensive mistake for homebuyers? and What are the symptoms of radon poisoning? and Should homeowners get a pre-listing radon test before selling their home?
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