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I've recently heard of this threat to our health and I'm trying to educate myself on how to best protect myself and my family from it. I've been living for the past few years in a rented apartment in an old 16 story building (50-60 years old) and I'm not planing on moving anytime soon, so I'd like to find out how pressing it is for me to spend money on radon testing. Any information on this matter is welcome, thank you for your time!

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    Oh oh I hope you don’t have any granite countertops or tile. For that case have you ever drank out of a hose? If so just hang it up you are a guaranteed goner in 60-80 years on average. Sound silly? If you are worried get a test kit and send it in after following the instructions. If you live in California prop 69 says everything will cause cancer. – Ed Beal Feb 19 at 0:02
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    This isn't a clarifying comment, but I must add that I think you (Ed Beal) and I would get along quite well. The California warnings are so stupid and silly. It's like crying wolf every minute of the day. But what's worse is they lose their effectiveness when there might be an actual risk. – George Anderson Feb 19 at 1:47
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Threats to health can be scary. But in this case, you'll want to keep on learning about radon. Learn what it is, exactly; learn where it's found in terms of what part of the building, and how it's mitigated.

The upshot is I've never heard of a radon mitigation system on the second floor, least of all the 9th! You have more to fear from wildfire.

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    Radon can be emitted by building materials, especially concrete which may have uranium-containing aggregates. So it's entirely possible that even a 9th floor can be affected. – jwh20 Feb 18 at 22:19
  • I would be more concerned about granite I think pink is the type that really emits a lot of radon , but you are correct abatement systems are usually at the basement or ground floor levels.+ – Ed Beal Feb 19 at 0:05
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Radon is emitted only from rocks in the ground or from masonry. Unless your apartment is composed entirely of raw concrete and has no ventilation, radon is an unlikely concern. You can buy small testing kits that will tell you how much radon is present.

On another note, it also debatable what concentration of radon is linked to an increase in cancer. Small doses appear to have a beneficial affect, as they stimulate the body's defenses to damaged cells. See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3315166/

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  • I found a 400$ detector on amazon. Where would I be able to find a cheaper testing kit? I'm not a USA citizen, I live in Europe. – user7519314 Feb 19 at 7:29
  • Ah. In the USA these kits normally go for about $20USD. This could be due to many districts in the USA requiring a radon test before selling your home. Your local real estate agents or government might have a source. Radon tests normally have to be returned for analysis quickly after measurement, so a local supplier will probably be cheapest. The European Radon Association (radoneurope.org) might be able to help you locate a cheaper kit. $400 seems extremely excessive, unless it includes two-day shipping to and from the USA. – IronEagle Feb 19 at 17:13
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Do not cast this off as unlikely.

Radon is a gas that infiltrates buildings and can cause breathing problems. We dispose of radon by installing tubes in the ground and extend the tubes up through the roof.

Often, because there isn’t enough ground pressure to move the radon up and away, we install exhaust fans and exhaust the tubes up through the roof.

While I’ve never extended tubes up 9 stories, I’ve extended them 3 stories.

I’d check with building maintenance to verify that if there is an exhaust system, that it’s been certified to be solid and in tact (no cracks that could leak into your unit, other’s unit, corridors, etc.)

There are maps that show likely radon hot-spots. I’d Google “radon map USA”.

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    Radon dose not "cause breathing problems". It is odorless and cause no immediate problem... but possibly, could lead to cancer. If you're concerned, check with the building owner or local authority for the findings of the last radon tests. As @LeeSam states, though, check a map to see if you even need to be concerned. Radon is found mostly emanating from granite or other igneous rocks. – DrMoishe Pippik Feb 18 at 22:47
  • @DrMoishePippik I’d say lung cancer is a breathing problem. Here’s an article that explains it ... ac-heatingconnect.com/homeowners/… – Lee Sam Feb 18 at 23:26

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