Friday, August 14, 2009

"The radon business is a scam"

A commenter at City-Data appears to confirm what has always been my suspicion: the "radon" threat is about as real as global warming. Which is to say, you've got a better chance of hitting a 565-foot home run in Yankee Stadium with a six iron than being harmed by radon.

I just got a contract on my house. Buyer had a home inspection done. Inspector owns a radon mitigation business on the side. Radon test comes up positive (above 4 pc/cl) [and] I'm told I need to get it fixed. Buyer's realtor who recommended inspector says she trusts him fully to do treatment.

I say no way. I will not reward someone who benefits by finding a problem. That's why I never let the termite company that found the "problem" to be the one that fixes it.

So I haven't decided what to do, so in the meantime I did some reading. And after about six hours, I came to the inescapable realization that RESIDENTIAL RADON DANGER IS A HOAX.

It's put out by the same folks who are selling us man-made global warming; WHO, the EPA, the NIH, all of whose best interests it serves to create crises so they can get money to keep "studying" the problem.

Here are some nagging hitches I am finding:

EPA's magical 4 picocuries/cubic liter threshold is arbitrary. There have never been tests of the effects of varying amounts of radon in a home setting. The only tests come from mine shafts in Pennsylvania where miners developed cancers, and where radon was among 25 or so radioactive elements present The results pf these findings were extrapolated to homes. In other words, THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A SINGLE VERIFIABLE CASE WHERE RADON IN A HOME WAS LINKED TO AN OCCURRENCE OF CANCER. Even the EPA has admitted it.

From a 1994 EPA report: "Facts Concerning Environmental Radon": "To date the EPA has had little success in stimulating home owners to measure levels in their homes which would be the first step in the process of deciding on a course of action if a high radon level is found. This is partly because it is difficult to get people concerned that their home, a place that one looks to for security, is a potential source of hidden danger. Also, it has not yet been possible to generate convincing data on increased risk at or below 4-8 pCi/liter"

What? No evidence of increased risk in the 4-8 range? Yet the EPA recommends action on any reading above 4? And all the radon companies are making $800 to $2000 setting up bogus vent systems for this number pulled out of thin air? And all the realtors, like sheep, fall into line?

Finally, two most widespread claims about radon all come from one source, the EPA:

1) Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer

2) 21,000 people die of lung cancer each year due to radon.

The rub here is that these two statements, long considered gospel, FAIL TO SEPARATE SMOKERS VS. NONSMOKERS. Furthermore, the numbers used are on the HIGH END of the actual findings which said 3,000 to 32,000. Ergo, it is IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE EITHER CLAIM ABOVE without pulling numbers out of thin air.


Below is the sole source for these two claims which have been repeated thousands of times, so much, in fact, that they are considered gospel. It is from the public summary of the EPA report, "Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation".


"The BEIR VI committee's preferred central estimates... are that about 1 in 10 or 1 in 7 of all lung cancer deaths-amounting to ... about 15,400 to 21,800 per year in the United States- can be attributed to radon among ever-smokers and never-smokers together."

"The number of radon-related lung cancer deaths resulting from (our analysis) could be as low as 3000 or as high as 32,000. Most of the radon-related lung cancers occur among ever-smokers, and because of the synergism between smoking and radon, many of the cancers in ever-smokers could be prevented by either tobacco control or reduction of radon exposure."

So...."15,400 to 21,800 per year in the United States- can be attributed to radon among ever-smokers and never-smokers together".....So how in the HELL can they arrive at the claim that "21,000 people die in America from radon each year? It's a bogus lie.

And from that lie sprang the industry of radon mitigation for residential homes that we are all paying for.

When you think about it, anybody with an IQ over 75 would question the idea of paying a thousand bucks to "cure" a problem you can't see or smell; a problem nobody has ever noticed or observed negative results from; a problem that apparently didn't even exist until 1984.

But this information doesn't help me on my house sale. The buyer believes there's a serious threat. The realtor believes it. If I show them this stuff, they won't believe it. I'm probably stuck paying for a mirage.



Anonymous said...

Been reading up on this, and look what I found: Thank you so much for your article. It's just what I've been thinking too. Another way for the EPA to keep employees and finagle their way into our homes, infringing on our constitutional right to private property. The dogs!

Anonymous said...

If the real estate agent is so into it...stall as long as you dare , then insist that HE PAY FOR REMEDIATION out of his commission.

This radon thing is A SCAM!!!

You should have SEEEEN the Jed Clampet that showed up to "remediate" the "danger" that his BUDDY found on an inspection!

The "inspector" (also a scam, IMHO) so TOTALLY glossed over anything REAL in our home. Things we KNOW to need attention, focusing ONLY on the DANGER OF RADON.

The hippie dippie "Warmer Sheeple" that are buying our house are SUCH SUCKERS! We forced our agent (who is acting as a dual---another mistake!) to pay for the whole damn system. Buyer's market or not, they can go F*CK themselves SIDEWAYS before I drill up a PERFECTLY GOOD BASEMENT FLOOR for ...wouldn't you know it...JUST enough (4.0) radon to remediate. JUUUST enough that it didnt send the moronic buyers running away from the deal...but juuuuust enough that he can soothe them with a "guaranteed fix" that his buddy just HAPPENS to sell.

This country is going to H*LL in a hankie, and I can't wait to drop out to the country when this deal is over. Let 'em have their stupid McMansion. I have SEEN the light, and regret the day I ever bought it.


Anonymous said...

For all the NON Believers about Radon gas health concerns, I hope you are not the next person to loose a loved one from the ravages of LUNG CANCER. Bin There done that, It's a 40 dollar test that may or may not save you some future grief, seems that with all the time you guys spend researching the facts about Radon, you could have installed your own mitigation system and saved a pocket full of probably don't beleive seatbelts save lives..thats what I thought.

Anonymous said...

For all the NON Believers about Radon gas health concerns, I hope you are not the next person to loose a loved one from the ravages of LUNG CANCER. Bin There done that, It's a 40 dollar test that may or may not save you some future grief, seems that with all the time you guys spend researching the facts about Radon, you could have installed your own mitigation system and saved a pocket full of probably don't beleive seatbelts save lives..thats what I thought.

Anonymous said...

Do you honestly think the the people in the evil radon industry are in it to make money. Lol thats funny, because most don't make much money. Also, realter hate dealing with radon is cuts into there money... you morons.

Like all things it study results are very subjective contextof the group do the research. You still have not presented any facts to support your stand against it.

The risks are very small but it is a risk. I have lost a( 9 year old non-smoker)family to lung cancer. And guess what the scar tissue bi-Ops showed radiocative decay products from radon exposure. It can happen to you too. When your nine year caughes up blood, you loose your EGO, look for Real anwsers. You think you did research stfu. Do you even have a PHD?? or do field research of any kind???

Also Radon mitigation is not a high profit industry. Most operate with less margin and other bussiness models. The mean installatin cost is $855 after state/insure/testing expenses the margin half what a plumber makes. So STFU...if you aren't quilified on any of the subjects and you dismiss without facts.

Anonymous said...

Quilified... that's a much a word as radon is a poison.

Anonymous said...

Just saw this post: indeed Doug Ross is correct.

As an expert on radiation effects, and a research career that spans over 35 years, I can assert that Radon detectors (and the level set as "safe" by the EPA) are pseudo-science.

The human body contains enough potassium-40 (a radioactive isotope) to register more than 4 pCi! So far as I know, the K-40 in our bodies has never been linked to an increased rate of cancer. One only need sit or sleep beside one of the detectors for most of the "collection" period to register positive for Radon.

Meanwhile, how can a gas which is much, much heavier than air "rise" up through a home? Heck, Radon is even heavier than ALL commonly occurring metals, including Gold! It can only FALL out of the cracks in basement walls (if those walls contain or are near a high concentration of Uranium), where any Radon will turn to Lead within a few weeks. It must constantly be "replenished" by some source (that source is Uranium).

If you had a true Radon problem in your basement, you'd also have a problem with Lead on your basement floor, and Uranium in-or-behind your basement walls. There's no need for a Radon detector at all, and ventilation systems will do almost NOTHING to mitigate any problem with Radon -- it is too heavy to ventilate.

The entire Radon mitigation industry is a scam perpetrated by environmental activists pushing an agenda to grow the power of the federal government to control our environment, and who are ignorant about physical science.

Cancer is "linked" to a great number of factors using statistics. When I studied advanced probability & statistics, I was taught that figures don't lie, but that liars do it with figures. This is the case for "Radon"-induced cancer.

Anonymous said...

You are 100 % right, the radon gas industry is a total scam. Some people are stupid and can be fooled into thinking that this is a real problem. At least you’re trying to get the word out about this, but I can see by some of the comments that you can lead fools to the truth but you can't make them think.

Anonymous said...

In particular children and smokers are at a greater risk from radon exposure. Just like some people smoke and die in a car accident that does not mean smoking is not dangerous. Would you prefer your car not to have safety belts or airbags?

Please look at these studies before you make up your mind: 1.
Alavanja MC, Lubin JH, Mahaffey JA, Brownson RC. Residential radon exposure and risk of lung cancer in Missouri. American Journal of Public Health 1999; 89(7):1042–1048.
[PubMed Abstract]
2.Darby S, Hill D, Doll R. Radon: a likely carcinogen at all exposures. Annals of Oncology 2001; 12(10):1341–1351. [PubMed Abstract]
Darby S, Hill D, Deo H, et al. Residential radon and lung cancer: detailed results of a collaborative analysis of individual data on 7148 persons with lung cancer and 14,208 persons without lung cancer from 13 epidemiologic studies in Europe. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health 2006; 32(Suppl 1):1–83. Erratum in Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health 2007; 33(1):80.
[PubMed Abstract]
4.Field RW. A review of residential radon case-control epidemiologic studies performed in the United States. Reviews on Environmental Health 2001; 16(3):151–167. [PubMed Abstract]
5.Field RW, Steck DJ, Smith BJ, et al. Residential radon gas exposure and lung cancer: the Iowa Radon Lung Cancer Study. American Journal of Epidemiology 2000; 151(11):1091–1102. [PubMed Abstract]
6.Frumkin H, Samet JM. Radon. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 2001; 51(6):337–344. [PubMed Abstract]
Harley NH, Robbins ES. Radon and leukemia in the Danish study: another source of dose. Health Physics 2009; 97(4):343–347.
[PubMed Abstract]
Krewski D, Lubin JH, Zielinski JM, et al. A combined analysis of North American case-control studies of residential radon and lung cancer. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A 2006; 69(7):533–597.
[PubMed Abstract]
9.Lagarde F, Falk R, Almrén K, et al. Glass-based radon-exposure assessment and lung cancer risk. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology 2002; 12(5):344–354. [PubMed Abstract]
Möhner M, Gellissen J, Marsh JW, Gregoratto D. Occupational and diagnostic exposure to ionizing radiation and leukemia risk among German uranium miners. Health Physics 2010; 99(3):314–321.
[PubMed Abstract]

FYI: The earth is warming.

Anonymous said...

It is a total scam. First of all trying to compare homeowners even with finished basements and with miners who spent there whole life deep into the earth with every dangerous gas and carcinogen in most potent form as a comparison is like comparing a basketball game between 5 paraplegics and 5 all star NBA players. I called a radon company since I'm selling my house, was quoted 600 to 800 over the phone to replace a worn fan and its exhaust upper-pipe, all underlying holes and piping to the exterior had all been there. So 600-800 to basically hook up 3 or so wires into screw-in terminals contacts and refit the upper pipe to the new fan. I would have easily done it myself but the buyers after being scared by the inspector want it done by a company, and guess what the home inspector is also a radon mitigation installer!!!

What a coincidence, seems every inspector in the world also installs these systems. So after being quoted 600-800 over the phone, in person the price then went to 1600 to 2500. The technician then told me that he would rather put a new system, and where did he decide would be appropriate?

Mind you we don't even have a basement, so he decides he is going to bore a hole through the first floor BEDROOM!!! To top it off he said he was going to leave the existing piping and fan we had and that, "I should go to home depot and pick up a cover." Do I cover the floor hole? The exterior fan pipe?? Or how about all the live electric connections and switch we had installed outside? No suggestion for me on that either, except that for $2500.00 he would put a new system in a bedroom.

At this point I "politely" asked him to get out of my house, charged me 200 dollars just to come out, and fixed absolutely nothing. The company is 20 minutes away, but hey, I guess gas is expensive these days.

So to sum it up, call for 2 simple repairs on a system I could have done myself for about 200-300 in parts. Get quoted 600-800, then be pitched a brand new system to be located in perhaps the worst spot on the whole first floor for up to $2500.00 dollars, and for me to "home depot fix" my existing installation myself(WTF?). Then of course the 200 dollar fee for coming to the house.

Oh and to top if off when we first bought the house, guess what the reading came in at??? Exactly 4.0 on the head, what a coincidence.

Also for the people who say a mitigation system is within a reasonable price, I'm not sure how many hundreds you're carrying around but 1500 to 2600 dollars for a house that doesn't even have a basement isn't exactly chump change to me. But because you are selling a home and your back is against a wall due to an overly inflated fear and a quickly approaching time limit.

If you are in NJ, please STAY AWAY from a company called RaDATA. They are the company who scammed me 200 and then tried to get an additional 2600 dollars out of me.

This is obviously strictly my own opinion and is in no way endorsed or associated with this blog or the owner of this blog therefore I am fully within right in an open forum to express my story with them, and to truly warn others before they make the same mistake and get scammed by this company.

Anonymous said...

How many of you have ever had dental x-rays before?

They put a LEAD vest on your chest to supposedly protect your internal organs from "scatter radiation"? (That practice never made me feel comfortable since the thing was pointed at MY HEAD!)

Do you know how much "radiation" you actually get from dental x-rays? You get more "radiation" from long term exposure to elevated levels of radon (at 4 picocuires) than you will get in 500 dental x-rays! Ask people if they would participate in a NEW program at their dentist. Tell them they are NOT going to be putting the lead vest on them anymore if they don't mind. Would most people AGREE to let that happen? I bet NOT! They have been "programmed" that x-rays are like "death rays from Star wars". The reason dentists do that is because attorneys have advised them that if you DONT take action they could later SUE you for some reason! That rational also applies to the signs they post asking you if you are pregnant (to protect your unborn baby from x-rays!

Furthermore you get more "radiation" each month from exposure to elevated levels of radon than than OSHA will let Nuclear Power Plant workers get!

You can hiss and argue about the annual deaths attributed to radon (21,000). But I find that its interesting that there is a national movement to BAN smoking in public buildings because of the alleged threat of "second hand smoke" (which the EPA says kills on 3,000 people annually). If the radon estimates are even HALF of what they state that is ANNUALLY more deaths than all those obtained in IRAQ/AFGHANISTAN in 9 years! Go figure! WHY does the "means" of death matter?