Washington residents now have a new online map to check and see if their neighborhood has a geological risk for the cancer-causing gas, radon, using a new state app. The new app is offered by the state Department of Health’s Washington Tracking Network.
Some areas of the state, such as Spokane and Clark counties, are well-known for having higher levels of radon, but the new online map shows that there some areas in Western Washington that might come as a surprise.
In Grays Harbor, a large majority of the county is listed as “High Risk” based on our geology, with the coastal areas listed primarily as “Low Risk”.
Indoor radon tests results in parts of Grays Harbor showed little to no risk with less than 4.0 pCi/L, which is in line with standard indoor rates.
In Washington, rocks or soil that contain uranium and radon, can be anywhere in the state. The Department of Health classified various risk areas but there is no area where there is no risk at all.
In areas with historically higher radon levels, testing happens routinely, giving homeowners more information about those areas. But many areas of the state at risk for radon haven’t been as thoroughly tested, or tested at all. More testing would provide a better understanding of the scope of radon risks throughout the state.
Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas created when uranium in rocks decays. When this gas enters a building from the ground or through construction materials or well water, it becomes trapped and builds up. Long-term exposure to radon is known to cause lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer to smokers who are also exposed to elevated- radon levels increases even more.
For more information, visit the Department of Health website.