Oregon Governor's Mansion Has Elevated Radon Levels

Mar 29, 2012

SALEM, Ore. – The governor's mansion in Oregon has tested positive for elevated levels of radon. Technicians found the readings Wednesday when they picked up monitors left in the basement of the stately, two-story home known as Mahonia Hall. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

Radon is an odorless radioactive gas that seeps up through the ground into buildings. The Surgeon General says only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year. Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes ordered a test of radon levels from Portland-based EcoTech. The result? The governor's mansion has more than 6 so-called picocuries per liter of air. EcoTech's Don Francis says that's too high for comfort.

Francis: "The EPA recommends that if a house or building has 4 picocuries per liter of air of radon, or higher, that it be lowered to reduce the risk of lung cancer."

A spokeswoman for Governor John Kitzhaber said the first family hasn't decided what steps, if any, to take to reduce the mansion's radon levels. The governor uses Mahonia Hall more as a second home anyhow. He maintains a private residence in Portland.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network