Fun facts about radon

Recommended safe level of radon is somewhere around 300 mrem/yr. But before you get too excited, consider this, from the link I just cited:

The average total dose rate for the USA is 360 mrem a year. It has been estimated that your chance of dying from cancer increases 10% if you accumulate a total of 250,000 mrem. This would be over 3,000 mrem a year over 80 years, for example. This estimates presumably assume a linear risk factor between dose and the chance of getting cancer, and there are those who now dispute such assumptions, which means the risks from low levels of radiation may be overstated.

Living in a home with a 4 pCi/l reading exposes you to 300 – 600 mrem per year

Living in New York City or New England, with its granite bedrock, doses you with 1,700 mrem per year:

Where and how you live affects the amount of radiation exposure you receive. For example, people who live in the Pacific Northwest part of the United States typically only receive about 240 mrem from natural and man-made sources. However, people in the Northeast receive up to 1700 mrem per year, mostly due to radon that is natural to rocks and soil.

A commercial airline flight from, say, Chicago to China, will dose you with 100 mrem, each way.

Cell phone towers would seem to pose no danger, but don’t tell that to the folks trying to ban them “within one mile of any school” which would effectively bar them from Greenwich entirely.


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13 responses to “Fun facts about radon

  1. Island Surveyor

    A trip to your basement to check the boiler will do the same.

  2. Island Surveyor

    If you signed the Greenwich petition favoring a one mile setback, and putting control of siting in the hands of our P&Z, then you’re now on line

    Name, Signature and Address at

    Click to access 2010SB-00206-R000301-Wayne%20Jervis,%20Signatures%20-TMY.PDF

    (Wonder why Greenwich Time doesn’t think signing petitions is dangerous to your identity health?)

    If you want a better look at our local cell phone towers, then get to know them and love them at:

  3. gideon fountain

    Oh no! So all those house-sellers paying $1,200+ to remediate radon levels of, say 8 pCi/l are WASTING THEIR MONEY??
    This time, I really am…shocked!

    P.S. Is it too late to keep electricity out of Greenwich? (If it saves the life of a single child…)

  4. Walt

    Dude Man –
    I read this twice and still don’t get it. Are you telling me I can take my tinfoil hat off, or do I still have to leave it on?
    Your Pal,

  5. harold gerald

    Island, love that web page of yours. absolutely love it. Keep up the good, sensible work my friend. When do you testify in Hartford? We need you lobbying on behalve of common sense.

  6. Anonymous

    A delicious list cited by Island Surveyor (,%20Signatures%20-TMY.PDF), that includes many local luminaries. Well worth a look/see:

    Kathee Lee Gifford, Anne and David Ogilvy, Victor Borge, Liberace, Bill Clark…it just goes on and on. Fascinating!

  7. Island Surveyor

    There are two cell phone bills brewing in Hartford.
    Public testimony for both is at the Environment Committee Page:

    Senate Bill 206 (3/1/10 Hearing) to return siting control to municipalities is at:

    House Bill 5504 (3/18/10 Hearing) proposes a 750 feet separation between cell towers and schools. Its testimony will be on line in a day or two.

    The RTM Resolution for 1500 feet passed on 3/8/10 but is non-binding because their is no local control.

  8. pulled up in OG

    See! You coulda had the barium enema last week after all.

  9. Pingback: UK Radon Gas Maps are the First Step | Radon Gas

  10. Pierre Berge, Nom de Plume

    Cher Monsieur Fontaine, selon l’Institut français de la Science, 300 mrem par jour prévient la maladie d’Alzheimer.

  11. Island Surveyor

    Simple Science Lesson:

    The universe is very, very cold and dark.

    But by the grace of the creator (yes, that’s scientific) we benefit from two great furnaces: The sun above and the 5000 degree molten core of earth beneath us.

    Both furnaces run on nuclear fuel, which send out radioactive particles as a product of that type of atomic “combustion.”

    We are shielded from each harmful source of rays by our near environment – the air and water vapor above, or the rocks and ground water below.

    When we go down to the basement or up in a plane, we are more exposed and less protected.

    The gas escaping upward through deep cracks in the rock mantel beneath us brings radioactive gas near to our basements in a somewhat random pattern of local intensity.

    Keeping the basement well ventilated, as one must do for boiler make-up air, diminishes risk.

    Basements should not be used as living or sleeping spaces in the home without a radon check.

    This service is available from the Greenwich Health Dept., or you can buy test kits at the hardware store.