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This Is KILLING People In Michigan!

21,000 people die of this every single year across the nation, If only they knew it could’ve been prevented by what I’m about to tell you...




When it comes to buying a home in Michigan (or anywhere across the globe) it’s not far-fetched to say people tend to put all their focus on the financial risk of the home purchase, but never the environmental risks.


Of course, when your offer is accepted, you get to the due diligence phase underway where you get a home inspector out there to do anything but complement the home to ensure you’re making the best financial decision possible as they create a lengthy grocery list of everything wrong with the home, what needs repairing, replacing, and this official report becomes a negotiation tool to throw back on the seller, especially when some of the findings were unknown to them. All that just to say, the homebuying process costs a lot of money, and when the home inspection comes, people get cheap and think they don’t need all the bells and whistles, just to find out they really did.


So when I say environmental risks, I'm not talking about natural disasters, or  being in a flood zone, I'm talking about the silent killer. The odorless, colorless, and tasteless radioactive gas we call radon. Some of you may have heard of this while others haven’t, either way, I highly suggest you stick around because I’m sure there will be something you can take away from this.


The "Silent Killer" Radon Gas


What is Radon Gas?



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So what is radon gas exactly? Radon is a radioactive gas that naturally occurs as a byproduct of the decay of uranium in the earth's crust. It seeps up through the ground and can accumulate in homes, especially in basements and lower levels. Being radioactive, it can damage lung tissue over time, leading to serious health consequences. Such as lung cancer, as well as stomach cancer as it can contaminate drinking water according to a national institute of health report from 1999 that drinking radon in water causes about 20 stomach cancer deaths per year. That may not be a high statistic compared to other death facts out there, but the goal is to make that zero. The difference between radon gas and other harmless pollutants you inhale, is breathing radon does not cause any short-term health effects such as shortness of breath, coughing, headaches, or fever. That’s how it’s earned its reputation of being a silent killer. Prolonged exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, right after smoking. This risk increases significantly in homes with high radon levels, making it a critical public health issue. In Michigan, where elevated radon levels are common in several regions, public health officials stress the importance of regular testing and mitigation.


The Health Impacts Of Radon Gas


When there's talk about the health impacts of radon, it often gets brushed off, and that’s why in my opinion, this death count is much higher. A lot of home inspectors or radon mitigation companies will tell you that as long as the radon gas level is under 4 pCi/L or pico-curries per liter of air which is a measurement designated to radon, you’re okay, and that’s a broad answer that doesn’t keep in mind the daily habits and health conditions of each person living in a home with radon gas.


The Effects of Radon On People Who Smoke Cigarettes:

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The Effects of Radon On People Who DON'T Smoke Cigarettes:


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Despite radon being the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers, there are many factors that cause lung cancer related to radon such as: cigarette smoking (of course), how old you are during exposure, the concentration of radon, time of the year, climate, source of water, and time spent in those heavily concentrated areas. There was an EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes conducted that showed the lifetime risk of lung cancer deaths, and if 1,000 people who smoked were exposed to X level of radon over a lifetime, this would be the outcome. 0.4 picocuries per liter would cause lung cancer to about 3 people. If the number was 1.3, it would be about 20 people (2 people if they didn’t smoke). If the number was 2.0 it would be about 32 (4 people total if they didn’t smoke), and when you get to 4.0 that's about 62 people (and 7 people if they didn’t smoke). All that to say, if you or the people living in your home smoke, vape, have asthma, or have any breathing or lung problems at all, do yourself a favor and test for radon, and if it comes in less than 4, still consider getting a mitigation system, so whoever it is that has lung problems doesn’t become part of that statistic as well.


There were several studies done to show concrete evidence that radon exposure caused lung cancer. Tom Kelly, who is a Former Director of EPA’s Indoor Environments Division stated after the evidence was shared, “We know that radon is a carcinogen. This research confirms that breathing low levels of radon can lead to lung cancer.”


How Do You Test For Radon Gas?


Cheers,  Andrew  Andrew McManamon is a Michigan REALTOR® with Signature Sotheby’s International Realty and provides real estate services to Buyers, Sellers and Investors throughout SE Michigan including Livingston County, Oakland County, Washtenaw County, Genesee County & beyond. Andrew has become one of the pillars of Michigan real estate. Prior to his real estate career Andrew was responsible for managing a senior living facility in Brighton, Michigan as a dining supervisor and an activities assistant. Andrew’s passion to help people is unlike any other, and he continues to strive to be best resource he can be. Andrew graduated from Cleary University in Howell, Michigan with a double major and currently resides in Brighton, Michigan.  Check Out the EXCLUSIVE "Living In Michigan" Apparel HERE  Subscribe to the Living in Michigan Newsletter HERE

So how exactly do you test for radon? Detecting radon is a pretty straightforward process with the help of DIY radon test kits available at local hardware stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Menards, ace or online. These kits are placed in the lowest habitable part of the home and left for a few days (typically 48 hours) before being sent to a lab for analysis. But, keep in mind those tests can have skewed results, so I always recommend to heavily consider a radon test from a professional to alleviate any false negatives or positives.


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Most home inspectors have these devices and it could cost $100-$200 depending on the company to have them bring it out to you and share the results after a couple days, but I would take my advice a step further and instead of paying for that service as a one and done when buying or selling a home, you go online and purchase one of the devices yourself, because you really should be testing for radon every 2-3 years, as the levels change quite frequently, so having that on hand would be a good idea. 


Installing A Radon Mitigation System


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Let’s say you got a test done and your test results show it's at, or more than 4 pico-curries per liter of air, at that point you should get a radon mitigation system without question, especially if you have a lung condition or are a smoker. A radon mitigation system is actually much simpler than you might think. Without getting into the fancy verbiage of all of it and the types of systems, it’s a essentially a pipe that goes through your floor slab, whether it’s drilled solely as a place for the pipe or through its placed into the submersible pump crock if you have one, since that’s already a hole cut in the slab.


If it’s a crawl space, plastic sheeting will be placed over the dirt floor if there isn’t already and the pipe would be installed through that sheeting to have a sole place to pull the radon gas from. Then there’s a special fan that creates a vacuum beneath the home’s foundation, in which it captures and redirects the gas outside. Oftentimes you’ll see these systems in place on homes, as they tend to be 4 inch PVC pipes depending on the home that stretch from the ground along the side of the house and above the roof line. According to the Michigan Residential Code 2015, a radon vent pipe should extend at least 12 inches (305 mm) above the roof. The vent pipe should also be at least 10 feet (3048 mm) away from any window or door openings, and 10 feet (3048 mm) away from any opening into an adjacent building.


How Does Radon Gas Relate To Michigan?


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How is Michigan involved in all this? Michigan's unique geology, with its rich concentrations of glacial till and limestone, contributes to varying levels of radon gas across the state. Reports have shown that certain areas, particularly in the Western and Northern parts of the state, exhibit higher than average radon concentrations. Testing becomes a key step for homeowners to determine their home's radon levels even if you are in the eastern and southern areas as well. I have helped people move all over southeast Michigan and mitigation systems have been necessary in homes at each corner of southeast Michigan, and the crazy thing is, your neighbor could have high radon levels but yours are fine. The numbers are always fluctuating as I mentioned, so if your neighbor does have one, your risks are higher of course so test frequently or throw a mitigation system in there for yours and your families safety. The state of Michigan stated that one in four homes have a radon level that poses a significant health risk, any home can have high levels of radon, whether it’s new or old, sealed well or not at all and with or without a basement. It’s crucial to keep up on testing and get a radon mitigation system.


So you’re buying a home, if the home has radon should you just run away? Not necessarily, a lot of homes have radon throughout the country. A properly installed radon mitigation system can reduce radon levels by up to 99%. The system should be installed by a qualified professional, as it requires specific technical knowledge and skills to ensure it is effective and safe. After installation, the radon levels should be re-tested to confirm the system is working correctly, some of them have built in testers on them as well. Regular maintenance checks are also recommended to ensure the system continues to operate effectively. A radon mitigation system and installation typically ranges from $800 to $2500 depending on the complexity of the system for your home. It’s a very small price to pay to ensure you and everyone in the home is safe from the tasteless, odorless and smell-less gas. Understand that radon fan motors typically last 5 to 20 years depending on how well they are installed, and most manufacturers offer a 5 year warranty as well. So if you are in Michigan and want to look into radon testing and mitigation systems, don't hesitate to reach out because I have several contacts and companies that can help you out.


For those of you that watched all the way through, did you know radon gas was that present in homes? Drop your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.



Thanks as always for reading, if you’re looking to buy, sell or invest in the fine state of Michigan, don’t hesitate to reach out, I'm happy to be your go to resource. Until next time.


Cheers,

Andrew


Andrew McManamon is a Michigan REALTOR® with Signature Sotheby’s International Realty and provides real estate services to Buyers, Sellers and Investors throughout SE Michigan including Livingston County, Oakland County, Washtenaw County, Genesee County & beyond. Andrew has become one of the pillars of Michigan real estate. Prior to his real estate career Andrew was responsible for managing a senior living facility in Brighton, Michigan as a dining supervisor and an activities assistant. Andrew’s passion to help people is unlike any other, and he continues to strive to be best resource he can be. Andrew graduated from Cleary University in Howell, Michigan with a double major and currently resides in Brighton, Michigan.



Check Out the EXCLUSIVE "Living In Michigan" Apparel HERE


living in michigan

Subscribe to the Living in Michigan Newsletter HERE


living in michigan


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