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Alabama Provides Testing Instruction for Karst and Non-karst Areas

by Margaret Henderson

Radon in Alabama homes can vary from home to home and throughout the state, which includes all three radon zones (EPA designation) for high, moderate and low concentrations of radon. Fifteen counties in Alabama have the highest potential for elevated radon (exceeding 4pCi/L, the EPA recommended action level). Additionally, the type of geologic formations in Alabama introduce an additional element of uncertainty in testing that is important to note.

Karst geology, carbonate rock with solution cavities where rock has been dissolved by water, is found particularly in northern Alabama. One finding in an Alabama karst study indicated that seasonal variation can be an extreme factor in testing. When tested in winter, radon problems were found that had false negative results when tested in summer using short term kits. These seasonal variations were greater in the karst areas than in the non-karst areas of the state. Due to this geologic feature, the Alabama Public Health Radon Program has recommended testing year-long for homes in karst areas.

The program provides instructions for testing in karst and non-karst areas through its website http://www.adph.org/radon/Default.asp?id=6416

For more information:
Alabama Office of Radiation Control

The RSA Tower

P.O. Box 303017
Montgomery, AL 36130-3017
Telephone: (334) 206-5391
In-state Toll Free: 1-800-582-1866