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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Are children at greater risk from radon?
    The National Academy of Sciences could not find any conclusive evidence to indicate children were at any greater risk from radon than adults.
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  • Does radon come from granite?
    Radon is a decay product of the element radium. Some granites found in NH emanate radon; others do not. Emanation of radon depends entirely on the chemistry of the rock.
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  • Do some parts of NH have more radon than others?
    Although elevated radon levels may be found throughout NH, the north, east and southeastern portions of NH tend to have elevated levels more frequently.
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  • How do I reduce radon levels in my home?
  • The most common method is to create a pathway that allows radon to vent from beneath the basement floor and escape above the eave of the house. If one wishes to hire someone to do this work they may consider contractors certified by either the National Environmental Health Association's Radon Proficiency Program or the National Radon Safety Board. Persons are required to be certified to provide radon related services in New Hampshire.

    The links to the Web sites listed above are for information purposes only and are not intended as an endorsement of any of the firms listed.

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  • How extensive is the lung cancer risk associated with radon exposure?
    The National Academy of Sciences has estimated that radon is responsible for approximately 19,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year.
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  • How do I test for radon in my home?
    There are several techniques for measuring radon concentrations, some are for short term scenarios as brief as two days, others are designed to estimate radon concentrations over extended periods of time up to one year in duration. The most common technique is short term testing with passive test devices that collect radon with activated carbon. These devices may be obtained through a number of sources, including local building supply stores and the National Safety Council.
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  • How is radon removed from the water?
    The preferred technique for removing radon from water is aeration.
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  • Is there radon in the water supply?
    Radon may enter homes through the water supply, although this is primarily only a problem in homes served by private wells.
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  • What is Radon?
    Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas created from the decay of the element radium.
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  • What is the acceptable value for radon in indoor air?
    State and federal agencies recommend taking steps to lower radon concentrations when those concentrations equal or exceed 4.0 picocuries per liter in the lowest portion of a home.
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  • What is the health risk associated with radon?
    Inhalation of radon increases the risk of developing lung cancer. The cancer risk is associated with the alpha radiation released from radon and two of the subsequent daughter products in the decay chain, two isotopes of polonium. Risk is directly related to the concentration of radon one is exposed to and the duration of that exposure.
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  • Where should the radon test be conducted?
    It is usually recommended that radon testing be done in the lowest portion of the home in which the occupants spend appreciable time.
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  • Why does exposure to radon represent a health risk?
    When radon undergoes radioactive decay it ejects an alpha particle and forms a new isotope, often referred to as a daughter product. The daughter product is also radioactive and subsequently decays, releasing additional radiation. This process of radioactive decay along a decay chain proceeds through several iterations before stopping with the formation of a stable form of lead. At each step of the decay process additional radiation is released.

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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