Is Radon a racket?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Highlands

I am becoming suspect of radon tests lately. I have been selling Real Estate in North Ga, TN & NC for 5 years. Until recently radon never came up as an issue. I had a buyer who put a contract  on a new house, after binding date we learned the house had had a contract recently fall through over a radon test coming in high for radon. Neither my buyer  not I knew a whole lot about it so we started researching. We learned enough that my buyer backed out even though the seller was installing a mitigation system. The curious thing was the same company that manufactured the testing equipment is the same company doing the mitigation. Well, we found another mountain home in a completely different area 20 miles away. Now the buyer is sensitive to the issue, having read so much about it. We wrote the contract contingent on a radon test.  My buyer hired the same inspector who tested with the same equipment.  Got the report today and again the radon levels are above EPA minimums. In their report to the buyer, the test equipement company recommends 3 vendors for mitigation and of course they are one of the companies.

The EPA minimum is 4.0 pCi/l,  our average is 5.2 pCi/l. I know radon is a serious matter but it is starting to feel like a racket  with now 2 deals falling through in row for the same buyer. The only winner here seems to be company making the equipment that tests and mitigates. And of course the seller now must disclose going forward the house has has tested high for radon. 

Other than multiple costly tests I am not sure how to be sure this isn't an over sensitive hype

Now my buyer and I start again, though with most homes here not tested I fear we will keep going down this road. And how dangerous is it for a vacation home used maybe 4 weeks out of the year?

Any wisdom out there about this?



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Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

That sounds like good business for the testing company.  We don't get Radon issues here, but I sometimes wonder about the termite inspection companies.  A termite inspection is always done, and of course if treatment is recommended, guess who will most likely get the job?

Jun 06, 2008 09:18 AM #1
Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains

Michael:  No great wisdom here but I have always had a certain degree of suspicion about this.  I am going to park here so I can read the comments that you get.

Jun 06, 2008 01:16 PM #2
Kim Southern- "Sold" with Southern Hospitality
Century 21 In the Mountains - Ellijay, GA
Greetings from the North Georgia Mountains!

Michael: It surely is one of those things that make you go "hmmm". 

Jul 19, 2008 02:21 AM #3
33,102 Georgia Real Estate Directory - Canton, GA

I heard it's not to be taken's a serious issue that could be harmful if not corrected...

Georgia Realtors

Jul 23, 2008 06:16 AM #4
kelly clancy


info on radon can be found here: (lung cancer is the primary concern)


map of georgia for radon:


radon is easy enough to deal with in terms of method. it would make more sense to build a home in an area known for radon with the prevention measures in the plan rather than don't do homework on radon in the area and have to retro fit a home for the fix. 

buyers have the right to test for something like radon. whether or not realtors believe it is a real problem, a buyer can believe it is. the buyer needs to be comfortable with the purchase. they have to live there. they have to pay for that peace of mind whether one thinks it's silly or overkill.  it's not unheard of people sabotaging radon tests just to get buyers to follow through. it's unconscionable. 


Jun 12, 2010 06:13 PM #5
Brian L. A. Wess
Infinite Horizons Realty - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted "Best Realtor" 2006, 2008 & 2013

I always advise clients that if an issue is a concern for them that they should take the time to really research the issue and not just accept hyped up hysterics as reliable information.

Many Real Scientists have actual scientific evidence that says the Radon Hype industry continues to try to terrify the public by relying on pseudo-scientific propaganda to push an EPA agenda contrived by exceptionally flawed, non fact based ‘estimates’ and ‘extrapolations’, and subsequently perpetuated by the home inspection/mitigation industry, to increase agency funding and bilk homeowners/homebuyers respectively.

“In fact, the EPA still can't name a single American who died from cancer caused by naturally occurring radon in the home. The 20,000 figure is pure guess - what the agency calls a statistical "extrapolation."

“University of Pittsburgh radiation physicist Bernard Cohen analyzed the relationship between lung cancer and residential radon levels in more than four-hundred U.S. counties. He found that those with the most household radon exposure had the least cancer. Physicist Ralph Lapp found much the same thing throughout high-radon areas in New Jersey.

Likewise, populous areas with high lung cancer rates where radon levels have been studied have generally been found to have below-average radon levels. This includes the New York City area, the San Francisco area, England, and China. In 1994, a major study of Missourians in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) and of Canadians in the American Journal of Epidemiology found no elevation of lung cancer in areas with high levels of household radon.

Yet another study in JNCI, in 1996, from Finland, reported that no matter how the researchers sliced the data, they could not find any link between household radon levels and lung cancer of any type. The concluding line: "Our results suggest no important public health impact for indoor radon exposure."

“And the EPA still can't show any significant link between lung cancer deaths and the high-reading radon areas that EPA test results have identified throughout the nation.
Summing up the EPA scare tactics and the pseudo-science employed to portray a virtual radon-caused cancer epidemic, one American physicist, Ralph Lapp, said the agency's contrived assessments of danger approached "panic proportions."

“For many potential environmental risks, the EPA behaves like a supporter of UFO theories. It’s as if the EPA claimed that since there is no conclusive proof that UFOs do not exist, we should assume that they do! Yet in science, it can never be conclusively demonstrated that anything is impossible—even the laws of gravity could be subject to some unknown time limit and expire tomorrow. It is unscientific to present data that only support your position without adequately accounting for data that contradict your findings. Sadly, like UFO sightings, EPA cancer scares are likely to continue no matter how many times the conclusions are called into question or refuted.”



Feb 03, 2014 04:35 PM #6
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Radon is a gas that is caused by a breakdown of uranium in soil.  It is odorless and invisible.  It can cause lung cancer in those who are exposed to concentrated amounts.  If the seller has had a previous radon test, the results must be disclosed.

Sep 14, 2015 07:17 PM #7
Ryan Belcher

The latest findings:

Radon is GOOD for you! Prevents Cancer!

Dec 06, 2019 08:31 AM #8
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