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My Pro-Lab Analysis Report just came back and it says that my basement has 1.7 pCi/L (Picocuries), the average result of both tests. The basement is the only place I have to exercise, so I'm wondering if it's safe to do so. We also have our laundry and winter coats down there; so I'd like to know if it is safe to use the basement or live in the house;

The report also reads that the risk of cancer from radon exposure, rounded up to 2.0 pCi/L is about the same as the risk of dying from poison, or that about 4 out of a 1,000 people who never smoked (like we don't) were exposed to this amount over a life time would get cancer.

Considering it effects smokers more so than non-smokers, and that I don't smoke, is it safe for me to exercise in the basement?

  • Voting to close as opinion-based. There won't be a hard standard for this. – isherwood Mar 28 '19 at 18:25
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As you have probably learned doing research, there isn't a hard-and-fast cutoff between "safe" and "dangerous". But 2.0 pCi/L seems to be the threshold for considering remediation, and that's for a living space. If you're using the room for exercise you'll probably only be spending a few hours per week there, which would dramatically reduce your exposure.

Personally I wouldn't worry about it.

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  • Though...while you may only be there for a few ours, you'd be breathing really hard as you're exercising. And that's the danger of radon. – DA01 Oct 3 '14 at 17:29
  • @DA01: It's true that the volume of air passing through your lungs is somewhat increased while you're exercising, but I don't think radon is actually absorbed so I'm not sure it matters. It's just the presence of of the substance in your lungs that's damaging. – Hank Oct 3 '14 at 20:11
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EPA sets the "Action Level", the level at which mitigation should occur, at 4.0 pCi/L.

I agree with @Henry Jackson, if you got 2 short-term test results that averaged 1.7 then continue to use the space as before. The reason for 2 short term tests is to rule out high levels that would pose an immediate threat. You should now conduct a Long-Term Test for a more accurate analysis of your conditions. If your long term test result is > 4.0 pCi/L then you should fix the house/basement.

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The risk is there regardless.... exercise 1hr a day 3-4 days a week.... over even only 5 yrs would increase your risk by as much as 16 percent. I would install at the very least and exhaust fan to collect and send air out, turning fan on 15min prior to using space. This would help move the air. You should most definitely do a long term test and recheck every year. It's your lungs, your life your health. If you don't smoke, then why would you want to expose yourself to a higher risk for no reason. Systems if needed are not really that expensive.

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The EPA action level is an average of 4.0 pCi/L. For homes testing at or above this level, remediation is recommended for real estate transactions, additional measurements are recommended in some cases for non-real estate transaction evaluations. For homes testing below this level, no action is required. For more detailed information about radon: A Citizens Guide to Radon, and The Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon. These guides outline the next steps for added measurement or recommendations for fixing the home.

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    Welcome to DIY.SE! Could you include a link or two to the sources you mentioned, as I think it would make this a great answer! – mmathis Jul 17 '17 at 14:32
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Someone stated to add a vent exhaust fan to the basement. This would cause negative pressure in the basement and could suck radon from the soil inside. What one would want is positive pressure, blowing air into the basement, which would tend to push radon away from any openings. (I would have commented directly but this forum won't allow me to do so.)

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  • It's more likely that air would be drawn from other sources with less resistance, and net airborne radon would likely be reduced. – isherwood Mar 28 '19 at 18:25
  • Welcome to Home Improvement! Indeed, this is really a comment, not an answer. With a bit more rep, you will be able to post comments. – Daniel Griscom Mar 28 '19 at 21:14
  • The vacuum is supposed to be under the slab/and or through drain tile. Sealing sump and cracks especially where concrete floor meets foundation wall, should remedy most air moving out. Two main concerns of moving too much air out of basement from too powerful of a fan are loss of heating/cooling using more energy to cool/heat home.. and more importantly carbon monoxide from gas water heater, especially in newer, more sealed homes. This is because the vacuum starts drawing air from the vent pipe, and the carbon monoxide flows into the home rather than outside. – eaglei22 Mar 7 at 22:18
  • Btw, an active radon reduction system (using a fan) is one of the best ways to remove radon.. Passive radon systems are used as well but adding a fan should move more radon gases out than without.. – eaglei22 Mar 7 at 22:25
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You are probably ok, a few years back I had a friend that had a high radon level, first we sealed his basement floor the basement level went down but the house living level did not change much at all. With a 3rd test we found his natural marble counter tops were the source , he did have them replaced and the levels on the 4th test were down to .4 or .5. So sealing the floor can help.

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