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Radon mitigation system doesn't seem legitimate


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I have a continuous monitor running so I know that the levels are not below 4, so there really isn't a point.

Your continuous monitor is worthless. Do not rely on it to tell you anything.

Let's say they are 3.9, isn't it fair for me to wonder if they could have been much lower if the system was done the way that is standard? The way that I paid for.

Sure, that's fair. Wonder away.

While you're at it, you might wonder whether or not this system might work better than a standard system. You speak as if a "standard" radon mitigation system is somehow guaranteed to be the best way to reduce radon levels in a home. This is not always the case. Sometimes the solution that works the best can be far removed from the "standard" cure. There's no way to know without testing.

Why didn't I get a choice in that matter? They have yet to prove that they couldn't do it the standard way. They cheesed it. That isn't what I paid for. What part of that is so hard to understand?

That'd be the part where you have no idea whether or not the existing system works.

In fact, in a letter where Matt offered to refund our money and remove the system, he acknowledged that many companies wouldn't have even installed a system under our "unusual conditions"...so why wasn't I told that? Why wasn't I given the option? They were happy to take my money for a "unconventional" system. They also were going to refund my money and have since back tracked. Why is that? Oh, right, because he told me he didn't want the liability of us getting cancer down the road.

This has nothing to do with whether the system works. (Which I have a firm belief that it doesn't and might end up deciding to prove it just for kicks.) This is about whether this is what I paid for. Anyone could drop a bucket in the ground. I didn't pay for that. If I wanted to drill through my concrete, I would have just done it myself. That is why I paid for this to be done.

Listen carefully: I have no dog in this hunt. I'm not about to make any attempt to defend what your contractor did. But as long as you lack proof that the system he installed doesn't work, you don't have a valid complaint in my book. I suspect that the attorney general will feel the same way.

DO A POST REMEDIATION TEST. If it shows that your levels are still unacceptably high, than go get the bastards. If not, then go obsess about something else.

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I have a continuous monitor running so I know that the levels are not below 4, so there really isn't a point.

Your continuous monitor is worthless. Do not rely on it to tell you anything.

Let's say they are 3.9, isn't it fair for me to wonder if they could have been much lower if the system was done the way that is standard? The way that I paid for.

Sure, that's fair. Wonder away.

While you're at it, you might wonder whether or not this system might work better than a standard system. You speak as if a "standard" radon mitigation system is somehow guaranteed to be the best way to reduce radon levels in a home. This is not always the case. Sometimes the solution that works the best can be far removed from the "standard" cure. There's no way to know without testing.

Why didn't I get a choice in that matter? They have yet to prove that they couldn't do it the standard way. They cheesed it. That isn't what I paid for. What part of that is so hard to understand?

That'd be the part where you have no idea whether or not the existing system works.

In fact, in a letter where Matt offered to refund our money and remove the system, he acknowledged that many companies wouldn't have even installed a system under our "unusual conditions"...so why wasn't I told that? Why wasn't I given the option? They were happy to take my money for a "unconventional" system. They also were going to refund my money and have since back tracked. Why is that? Oh, right, because he told me he didn't want the liability of us getting cancer down the road.

This has nothing to do with whether the system works. (Which I have a firm belief that it doesn't and might end up deciding to prove it just for kicks.) This is about whether this is what I paid for. Anyone could drop a bucket in the ground. I didn't pay for that. If I wanted to drill through my concrete, I would have just done it myself. That is why I paid for this to be done.

Listen carefully: I have no dog in this hunt. I'm not about to make any attempt to defend what your contractor did. But as long as you lack proof that the system he installed doesn't work, you don't have a valid complaint in my book. I suspect that the attorney general will feel the same way.

DO A POST REMEDIATION TEST. If it shows that your levels are still unacceptably high, than go get the bastards. If not, then go obsess about something else.

I can completely appreciate your suggestion. It just seems that it is a no brainer that being under my foundation would be the best choice.

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Just had a thought: If I turn off the fan, should I see my number on my continuous monitor go up? How long would I have to have it off to see a difference in any testing?

I wouldn't trust that monitor as far as I could throw my own spleen.

But in the interest of science, and just for the hell of it, I'd give it two days on and two days off for a week or two.

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I don't have a dog in this hunt either - in fact, radon isn't even a consideration where I am. Nobody does radon testing here and nobody is worried about it. But....

If the defacto standard is 4 pc/l or less, and she's currently at 3.9 pc/l with the unconventional system; isn't the system working satisfactorily (Assuming a post-remediation test verifies that the continuous monitor that Jim won't risk his spleen over is correct) regardless of its configuration?

I will grant that the firm that installed the system, though they apparently didn't guaranty anything, does seem to lead one down the garden path with the proposal she's attached where on the first page they state that their "typical" system reduces levels to less than 1 pc/l and goes on to describe all sorts of other advantages instead of promising to get levels down to the maximum acceptable level.

Is it just me or does anyone else think it might be a little bit of deception to spend so many words in a proposal glowingly describing what you'll do, while stating that your "typical" system reduces levels to below 1 pc/l, and then you don't actually promise to do that?

Maybe I'm just getting old and my reading comprehension is suffering.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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The monitor that you have is giving a long-term average so you're not going to see the levels jump up and down by turning the system off and on (only a grab sampler has that functionality.) The display is only going to show the average of the levels since the last time the data was cleared. So if the monitor was reading 8 pCi/l for 2 months (for example,) and your levels were reduced to 1.5 by installing a mitigation system, your monitor would not accurately reflect the 1.5 reading until all of the old readings averaged-out against the 1.5 current levels. However, if you hold the button down for a minute or two (until you see "CL" on the display), you can clear the data out of the monitor and it will begin a fresh, new measurement. The monitor will stay blank for 48-hours before displaying the new reading.

This is one of the reasons that I am fairly confident that the system is working. You mentioned that the readings on your monitor started dropping shortly after the installation without having cleared out the old data. Once you clear the data and get a fresh reading, you will see that the levels are now very low. I tried to explain this to you on the phone when we spoke last, but you hung up on me before I got that far. Believe me, a lot of people have these monitors and they expect to see the levels plummet the day after the mitigation system is installed yet they are unaware of the way the monitor stores the data (even if you unplug it from the wall.) Once we explain to them how to clear it, they clearly see the impact that the mitigation system had on the radon levels.

Mr. Katen is correct in the fact that the monitor that you are using is not approved for professional radon testing so any result that you get from using it should be verified by additional (approved) testing methods. From what I've seen, they are usually accurate within +/- 20% when used properly and we would be happy to do some verification tests with calibrated instruments in conjunction with your monitor to determine its accuracy.

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The installer left one with us and suggested we wait 6 days. In the process of complaining to the service manager, he suggested we wait "approximately 10 days after the installation to start the test so that we can get an accurate idea of where the levels ought to be settling at."

As you can imagine, I don't really trust anything they have left here so if I do any follow up testing it will be with a third party.

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Just to be clear, our monitor is not showing below 4.0...that is just an example to use as a question.

Instead of purposely obfuscating the facts, your case would be much better presented and received had you been forthcoming with an original post that included ALL pertinent information. I have no idea why you have not yet disclosed the actual numbers provided by your continuous monitor unless you intend to drag on an already too-long discussion based on a relationship between, as I see it, a whack job and an unethical radon mitigation system installer.

Pray tell, what are the actual numbers- wait, you know what? who cares.

If you're going to take the yahoo to court, then do it.

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. . . If the defacto standard is 4 pc/l or less, and she's currently at 3.9 pc/l with the unconventional system; isn't the system working satisfactorily (Assuming a post-remediation test verifies that the continuous monitor that Jim won't risk his spleen over is correct) regardless of its configuration?. . .

First, in her original post, she said that her worthless monitor was reading around 7. Later, she said that it was showing "not below 4." So, if the worthless monitor is to be believed, then levels are not where they should be.

Next, post remediation testing can't confirm that the system *is* working properly. It can only confirm that the system *isn't* working properly. If a valid test shows 4.1 at any moment in time, then the system isn't doing its job. But if the test shows 2.0, then that only means that the system is working at that moment. An hour later it might spike up to 15.0.

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Just to be clear, our monitor is not showing below 4.0...that is just an example to use as a question.

Instead of purposely obfuscating the facts, your case would be much better presented and received had you been forthcoming with an original post that included ALL pertinent information. I have no idea why you have not yet disclosed the actual numbers provided by your continuous monitor unless you intend to drag on an already too-long discussion based on a relationship between, as I see it, a whack job and an unethical radon mitigation system installer.

Pray tell, what are the actual numbers- wait, you know what? who cares.

If you're going to take the yahoo to court, then do it.

I, in fact, came here just to see if I was off base by thinking that this job was anything but standard. I got the information I needed. Thank you.

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Next, post remediation testing can't confirm that the system *is* working properly. It can only confirm that the system *isn't* working properly. If a valid test shows 4.1 at any moment in time, then the system isn't doing its job. But if the test shows 2.0, then that only means that the system is working at that moment. An hour later it might spike up to 15.0.

Thanks for making that point.

BTW, Matt, isn't going to completely bash the continuous radon meter since they happen to also sell them. We did not buy ours through them, we already had it.

And how do I work the changing weather into the whole equation? That is why I ask how do we properly test how effective it is at any given point in time. If I run one test and then run another test, given the change in weather conditions, should the test have a different outcome? Or with a proper system should those test have similar results?

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Here is another EPA link http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/consguid.html . Post-mitigation testing should be done within 30 days of installation and they recommend a 2-7 day test. Also a good idea to retest every two years. If the system is properly working, the weather should not have a significant impact on levels as the system should remove the vast majority of the radon prior to it entering your home.

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Here is another EPA link http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/consguid.html . Post-mitigation testing should be done within 30 days of installation and they recommend a 2-7 day test. Also a good idea to retest every two years. If the system is properly working, the weather should not have a significant impact on levels as the system should remove the vast majority of the radon prior to it entering your home.

Thank you. That makes sense.

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Next, post remediation testing can't confirm that the system *is* working properly. It can only confirm that the system *isn't* working properly. If a valid test shows 4.1 at any moment in time, then the system isn't doing its job. But if the test shows 2.0, then that only means that the system is working at that moment. An hour later it might spike up to 15.0.

Thanks for making that point.

BTW, Matt, isn't going to completely bash the continuous radon meter since they happen to also sell them. We did not buy ours through them, we already had it.

And how do I work the changing weather into the whole equation? That is why I ask how do we properly test how effective it is at any given point in time. If I run one test and then run another test, given the change in weather conditions, should the test have a different outcome? Or with a proper system should those test have similar results?

With a proper system, the level should not peak above 4.0.

You don't have the ability to test at one moment in time unless you invest in a grab sampler. The best you can do is one 48 hour window at a time. Start with a 48 hour test. If you like, do several.

Then do a long-term alpha track test - leave it for a year to get a fairly accurate year-long average.

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Living in the basement, verses living one floor up, I would think you would want that number to be as close to zero as possible.

Ohio is a regulated state and I have to have 16 hours of CE every two years to be a tester. Listing to the Scientist talk about the relationship to time of exposure at different levels, they seem to tell us that no level is safe if exposed to it for a long time.

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Living in the basement, verses living one floor up, I would think you would want that number to be as close to zero as possible.

Ohio is a regulated state and I have to have 16 hours of CE every two years to be a tester. Listing to the Scientist talk about the relationship to time of exposure at different levels, they seem to tell us that no level is safe if exposed to it for a long time.

The reality that no one wants to talk about is that no one really knows. There is ample evidence that low levels of radon can actually reduce cancer risk. Unfortunately, no one knows what the threshold is. The notion that lower always better is not supported by science.

My best understanding of the process:

Our lung cells are being damaged by radioactive particles ALL THE TIME. In the vast majority of cases, nothing bad happens because of it. The cells repair themselves, or they die, or they develop harmless mutations that have no harmful effects. But every now and then, the damage causes a mutation that starts the cancer ball rolling. And that cancer can be caused by a single cell being exposed to a single alpha particle for a few seconds. You can live your whole life in perfectly radon free environment, then inhale one alpha particle one day, and get cancer from it. Alternatively, you can breath alpha particles all the time and never get cancer.

There is no predictable dose/response curve that we know of. This whole 4 picocurie per liter thing is a public policy issue driven by politics and bureaucracy, not science or medicine.

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I don't have a hard stand one way or the other on the issue. However, here is a link that accesses several of the studies done http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16608829 .

Don't know how 4 became the magic number (I read the World Health Organization actually recommends mitigation to below 2.7), but there have been studies that indicate radon in homes does cause lung cancer.

Of course, almost everything causes cancer nowadays.

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I don't have a hard stand one way or the other on the issue. However, here is a link that accesses several of the studies done http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16608829 .

I've read some of those studies - godawful boring things - but all I can find at that site is abstracts.

Don't know how 4 became the magic number (I read the World Health Organization actually recommends mitigation to below 2.7), but there have been studies that indicate radon in homes does cause lung cancer.

Of course, almost everything causes cancer nowadays.

There's no doubt whatsoever that radon causes cancer. The more important question is, "How can we limit the risk?" The more you read and study the subject, the more you will become convinced that limiting the dose does not necessarily limit the risk.

Consider this analogy - certainly flawed but perhaps helpful anyway:

Swimming causes drowning.

In order to limit deaths from drowning, the U.S. government issues a recommendation that all citizens limit their swimming to 4 hours per month, explaining that the risk of drowning from swimming is greatly reduced at this level.

Of course, the WHO is more conservative and recommends limiting swimming to only 2.7 hours per month.

Some people freak out when they discover that, through inattention, they had been swimming for 4.1 hours the previous month. (Some of these people die from apoplexy, leading some scientists to speculate that low levels of swimming lead to apoplexy as well as drowning.)

In the meantime, rogue scientists point out that a careful examination of studies show that swimming can actually *decrease* your risk of drowning, particularly if you swim in moderation. Yet other scientists point out that the studies show that the more you swim, the *less* likely your are to drown. Unfortunately, no one is able to pin down a scientifically valid level at which exposure to swimming is absolutely safe.

Some people reason that if you can die from a thing, the best course of action is to avoid that thing completely. They try to completely eliminate swimming from their lives, only to die tragically when they fall off a pier one day and instantly drown *because* they never swam.

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Don't know how 4 became the magic number ...........

A long time ago, someone @ EPA went into somewhere in Pennsylvania with whacko high levels, installed a state of the art system, and the lowest they could get was 4.0 pcL. It's a performance based threshold, not a toxicologically determined threshold. Which, basically means it's a darn meaningless number for determining much of anything.

Or, so went the story I was told when I was in licensing class about 20 some years ago.

I avoid radon risk by swimming.

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Don't know how 4 became the magic number ...........

A long time ago, someone @ EPA went into somewhere in Pennsylvania with whacko high levels, installed a state of the art system, and the lowest they could get was 4.0 pcL. It's a performance based threshold, not a toxicologically determined threshold. Which, basically means it's a darn meaningless number for determining much of anything.

Or, so went the story I was told when I was in licensing class about 20 some years ago.

I avoid radon risk by swimming.

The WHO has set the threshold at 20!

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