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Local Summaries
California Geology

California Radon Gas
Average Home Concentration
by County
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by Vaughn Aubuchon

Here is a summary of radon gas concentration in the home, for all the counties of California. Santa Barbara county is the worst, followed by Santa Cruz county. Radon gas in the home is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking.

I had a number of uranium samples in the home. I was concerned about the radon out-gassing from these samples, so I purchased an electronic radon gas detector. After 2 days (the minimum sample period), the alarm started going off every hour. It read about 4.4 pCi/L. The alarm goes off for any reading over 4.0 pCi/L.

I removed all my samples from the home, and yet the radon reading remained high. This finding caused me to research the background radon levels found in the home by county. SANTA CRUZ IS NUMBER 2! The high numbers I was reading were due to MY LOCATION, and had nothing little to do with my insignificant uranium samples.

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300

140


.
California Radon Gas in Homes
Average Radon Levels by County

Radon
Rank
Pop.
(,000)

California
County

Average
Home
Radon
Levels
pCi/L
% of Homes
with
Greater
Than 4pCi/L

Notes

1
407

Santa Barbara

4.6
13%

Notice the lack of correspondence between the 2 columns to the left.

The "occurrence" can be much higher than the average figure, which highlights the need for individual case testing.

Some advise corrective action at levels above 2.0 pCi/L.

Are you a gambler, or are you prudent?

2
256

Santa Cruz

4.2
13%
3

17

Inyo

4.0

26%

4
178

El Dorado

3.8

34%

5
98

Nevada

3.3

27%

6
149

Madera

2.9

19%

7
430

Tulare

2.9

25%

8

55

Tuolumne

2.8

19%

9

9,848

Los Angeles

2.6
10%
10
807

Kern

2.5
12%
11

38

Amador

2.2

19%

12

47

Calaveras

2.1
15%
13
915

Fresno

2.0

9%

14
675

San Joaquin

1.8

14%
15
221

Butte

1.7

7%

16
135

Napa

1.7

5%

17
349

Placer

1.6

10%
18
510

Stanislaus

1.5

7%

19
267

San Luis Obispo

1.4

8%

20

2,018

San Bernardino

1.3

7%

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National Average

1.3

?

21
251

Marin

1.2

7%

Although these counties are below the national average. "hot spots" can exist in ANY county.


It is therefore a good idea to test for radon in YOUR house, wherever it might be.

22

1,401

Sacramento

1.2

7%

23

1,785

Santa Clara

1.2

6%

24
803

Ventura

1.2

6%

25

1,491

Alameda

1.1

4%

26
410

Monterey

1.1

7%

27

2,125

Riverside

1.1

4%

28
719

San Mateo

1.1

7%

29

3,027

Orange

1.0

4%

30

3,054

San Diego

1.0

5$

31
181

Shasta

0.9

2%

32

1,041

Contra Costa

0.8

3%

33
472

Sonoma

0.7

5%

34
199

Yolo

0.7

0%

35
815

San Francisco

0.6

3%

36
130

Humboldt

0.5

0%

37
407

Solano

0.5

1%

-

..
21 California counties
have no data (36%)

1

1

Alpine

no data

11%

If there is "no data", a presumably arbitrary average figure of 11% is assigned, for "Number of Homes with Greater Than 4pCi/L." This is obviously highly misleading, since there IS NO DATA!
If you don't know, just CALL IT AVERAGE? NO. This is not the way to do it.

For 36% of all California counties, NO DATA is given! WHY NOT?

Inefficient state bureaucracy?
Lack of data takers?
Lack of concern?
Nobody cares?
You tell me.

2

21

Colusa

no data

broken data
3

29

Del Norte

no data

11%
4

28

Glenn

no data

11%
5
167

Imperial

no data

11%
6
149

Kings

no data

11%
7

65

Lake

no data

11%
8

34

Lassen

no data

11%
9

18

Mariposa

no data

11%
10

86

Mendocino

no data

11%
11
245

Merced

no data

11%
12

9

Modoc

no data

11%
13

13

Mono

no data

11%
14

20

Plumas

no data

11%
15

55

San Benito

no data

11%
16

3

Sierra

no data

11%
17

45

Siskiyou

no data

11%
18

93

Sutter

no data

11%
19

61

Tehama

no data

11%
20

14

Trinity

no data

11%
21

73

Yuba

no data

11%

NOTES:
1. The data above came from http://county-radon.info
Although it is NOT a California state URL, the data presented looks like "official California data".

2. Why is the data missing for 21 counties (36% of all California counties)?

3. You cannot buy an electronic radon gas detector from any store in Santa Cruz, CA. This is especially weird, since Santa Cruz county has so much radon gas in homes. No radon detector can be found at Best Buy, Home Depot, Orchard Supply Hardware, Radio Shack, or Sears.

4. The easiest way to get an electronic radon detector, is to buy one from Amazon.
I bought the "Safety Siren Pro Series HS71512" for $130.
It takes 48 hours before you get your first reading. Thereafter, it displays radon concentration every hour. It gives you an alarm (4 loud beeps) every hour as well, if the level is above 4 pCi/L.

5. My radon concentration has NEVER BEEN BELOW 4pCi/L, which means the alarm is ALWAYS sounding. It can be turned off, if you want to bury your head in the sand, like an ostrich.
Or just unplug it, and take your lung cancer like a man. (Sorry - not funny.)
My current radon gas reading is 3.6 pCi/L.

6. pCi/L means pico-Curies per liter

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50

70

120 - 600

80

80

200


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How Much Radon Gas Is Too Much?

The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, right after smoking cigarettes.

The Environmental Protection Agency Radon Pages
The EPA presently suggests that corrective action be taken to reduce the radon levels in your home, if measured over the long term at 4 pCi/L or greater.

"No radon level is considered "safe". The risk of developing lung cancer is directly proportional to the levels and duration of exposure to radon. The higher the radon concentration, the higher the lung cancer risk. The 4 pCi/L "Action Level" is based on current mitigation technology."
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
It means that if it were consistantly possible to reduce radon levels to below 4 pCi/L, then the LIMIT for "too much radon" WOULD BE MUCH LOWER than 4.

-

Any Radon Is Too Much Radon
"Any Radon Is Too Much Radon"
Cancer risk vs. Radioactivity level is a linear relationship,
and it starts from zero, not some arbitrary "limit number".


Insignificant Uranium Samples? Think again.
After I removed my radioactive samples from inside the house, the number of pico curies per liter has not gotten above 4.

I placed all my radioactive samples in the trunk of my Triumph Spitfire (small trunk, good rubber seal). After a few days, the reading was 20 pCi/L.
TWENTY! The samples consist of ten small uranium samples, which all fit into a fishing tackle box, a large piece of coffinite, a megalodon tooth, and all my FiestaWare dishes - about 8 in all. Wikipedia suggests that the uranium in these sources is insignificant - that is NOT true. I have personally measured these dishes - 35,000 counts per minute is NOT low at all - it is VERY HIGH. Normal background radiation is around 50 counts per minute.

Some people spend their whole lives with their kitchen filled with the very pretty "Radioactive Red" FiestaWare, made by the Homer-Laughlin Company in West Virginia. AND, they eat off of it. I believe that the large uranium-glazed surface areas result in these people breathing in FAR MORE radon gas than anyone else.

The actual name of the color was "Radioactive Red". Which is literally true, At least, they weren't trying to hide the fact. Other colors also contain uranium, but not nearly as much as the orange-colored Radioactive Red variety.
Uranium-glazed Fiestaware was made -
from 1936 to 1944, Radioactive Red, natural uranium (8 years), and
from 1959 to 1969, Mango Red, "depleted" uranium (10 years).

Put that stuff in the garage, folks. Lower your cancer risk.
.

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570 - 600



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Pro Series 3 -
Radon Gas Detector

Partial Instructions Summary

Menu Button Operation

Seconds

.
Function Description

1

Long-Term /
Short-Term

1

This function allows the user to change the display between the short-term and long-term readings.
Press and hold the alarm button for 1 second.
The display will change the instant the menu button is released with the LED indicator light lit next to the "S" or "L", to indicate which reading is being viewed.
If the menu button is held in for longer than 3 seconds, the display will not change.

"S" will show the average for the last 7 days.
"L" will show the average from the time of last reset, for up to 5 years.

Regardless of the setting, the first readout will occur after the unit has been plugged in for 2 days (48 hours). It takes this long to produce an accurate reading.

2

Test

5

This function allows the user to test the audible alarm.
Press and hold the alarm button for 5 seconds.
The alarm will sound 4 chirps as if it is in an alarm condition.
Release the menu button, once the alarm begins to sound.

3

Alarm Mute
On/ Off

15

This function allows the user to silence the audible alarm.
While in an alarm condition, press and hold the alarm button for 15 seconds.
As you pass through the test phase as indicated, the alarm will sound 4 chirps.
The display will read "Aoff."

Beeps every hour if long-term readings are 4pC/L or greater for 30 consecutive days.

4

Reset/
Clear Memory

20

This function allows the user to clear and reset the memory for the short and long term readings.
This should be done anytime the detectors moved to a different location.
Press and hold the alarm button for 20 seconds.
The display will read "CL". When the menu button is released, the "CL" will flicker until the memory has been completely cleared. Once the memory has been cleared, the display will read "--" for 48 hours, until enough samples have been taken to provide an accurate reading.

30

100

30

290 - 450



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This Vaughns California Radon Gas page
was last updated on 2017-10-28.