This week I was in Juneau talking radio active gas! (The EPA was filming a new piece for U.S. tribes on radon in Indian Country and we shot an interview at the UAS Media Center). There was an opportunity to travel to several child care centers and provide test kits to them as well as present to family, teaching staff and even the kiddos. The usual question popped up asking if ‘we have radon here’.
One would think with the houses built right up the hillside on craggy and crumbly rock that Juneau would be geologically a perfect candidate for high radon levels in homes. Yet I had a retired radon testing company owner (from SE states) who is now living in Juneau describe to me the formation of the valley as well as the creation of the slide areas which seems to mitigate radon from getting in the homes.
Indeed, close to 500 long term, alpha track kits were tested in the first couple years of the Alaska State Indoor Radon Grant over a quarter of a century ago and they nearly all were below the EPA’s action level of 4.0 pico curies of concentration in a liter of air. Another possibility is that there is no uranium in the area to emit radon gas. This isn’t true however, as across the bridge in Douglas some of the highest readings ever by these kits show up during that same time frame.
Thus, REGARDLESS of what levels of radon people have had nearby, the only way you’ll know if you have a radon problem is to test!