New study shows high radon levels in Portland

New study shows high radon levels in Portland

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by KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on January 18, 2013 at 7:18 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 8:52 PM

PORTLAND - A new study has found that about one out of every four Portland area homes - has high levels of radon - a potentially deadly gas.

The Alameda neighborhood is an area that experts have long known has high levels of radon. One home we visited already has a system set up to vent-out the gas.

Portland State Unversity geology professor Scott Burns and a team of students examined radon tests from 32,000 homes across the metro area. They discovered areas that were once thought to be low in radon, were actually high.

The invisible gas comes from decaying uranium in the earth and is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

Research found high levels in Wilsonville and Sherwood - ZIP codes 97140 and 97070.

Burns said one of the most surprising areas that tested high was the ZIP code 97055 - Sandy.

Link: List of Radon levels - PDF | MAP of radon levels

Shalyn Johnston just learned the Northwest Portland home she and her family shares could be sitting on dangerous ground.

"I've never thought that could be a possibility," she said. "There's a lot more radon than we thought there was."

Testing your home for radon is relatively simple. You can find do-it-yourself kits at most hardware stores. And you can install a system to vent out the radon for as little as about $500.

According to the PSU study, only about 20 percent of Portland are homes fall in the "low" category.

KGW Reporter Keely Chalmers contributed to this report

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