I’m concerned about radon in my air and water - can the same company test and correct both?

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While not as immediately deadly as carbon monoxide, radon is another “invisible” gas that can have serious health consequences over the long term. In fact, it’s considered the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, and the top cause among non-smokers. The US Environmental Protection Agency has created new initiatives aimed at getting radon levels tested in every home in the country to cut down your exposure.

Radon is a natural by-product of the breakdown of radium and uranium found in rock, soil and water. It’s in the air outdoors, but in small concentrations that don’t pose a threat. When it seeps into your home and reaches high levels that you breathe in every day, it becomes a health hazard.

If your water supply comes from your own well, your water could be another source of radon exposure. Besides drinking it, radon can escape into the air as you shower and run water in the sink. So if you have a well, it makes sense to have both your water and your air tested.

Methods for testing (called “measurement”) and correcting (called “mitigation”) radon levels in the air and in water are different. Some professionals are trained to both measure and mitigate radon in both water and air; others do only one aspect.

The most important question to ask the companies you’re considering is if their technicians have been trained according to EPA protocols and certified by one of the two National Radon Proficiency Programs (NRPP) either the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) or the National Radon Safety Board (NRSB), and what they are qualified to do.

Because radon is a concern in many areas, especially the northeast (this map shows general levels in your area), check to see if your state’s department of public health has a listing of companies or individuals approved by the National Radon Proficiency Programs. You’ll also find useful information about both testing and mitigation. In Connecticut for example, where radon is a prevalent problem, additionally mitigation companies must use only licensed electricians, plumbers, and other professionals for all the aspects of the work they need to do.