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Maine Radon Program Offers Real Estate Guidance

by Margaret Henderson

The Division of Environmental Health in the Maine Department of Health and Human Services provides radon guidance regarding real estate. Maine statistics indicate that one of three homes in Maine has elevated radon. Based on the USEPA radon mapping, all Maine counties fall into Zone 1 and Zone 2. There are 28 counties in Zone 1, High Potential, where an average indoor radon screening level greater than 4 pCi/L, the USEPA recommended action level, is predicted. Nine counties fall into Zone 2, Moderate Potential, where the predicted average indoor radon screening level is between 2 and 4 pCi/L. No counties are categorized as Zone 3, Low Potential (less than 2 pCi/L predicted.

Because in Maine, real estate transactions frequently reveal radon levels in excess of the recommended levels, some questions and answers regarding radon and radon testing are provided by the Division. “Radon and Real Estate Related Facts” discusses where radon comes from, where it may be found in Maine, facts about radon testing and mitigation, and other particulars relevant to real estate concerns. In particular, the Division notes that if your home is for sale, you cannot legally install a radon mitigation system yourself and you must instead hire a registered radon mitigation contractor.

Additional guidance is given in the publication “Radon: Know the Numbers When You Buy or Sell a House.” Due to Maine’s cold climate, the Division recommends that if testing was performed in cold weather when the heat is on and results were less than 2 pCi/L, the home should be retested in three to five years. If testing is done in warm weather, the Division recommends testing in cold weather again.

For those building a home, there is guidance about “When You Build a New Home: Put in a System to Reduce Radon Dangers.” http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/environmental-health/rad/radon/documents/2011%20tipsheet%204.pdf

For further information, contact:

Telephone 1-800-232-0842