Radon and Your Health

These days, radon is a very talked about subject, but there are homeowners and renters who remain unaware of radon and the serious effects it can have on their health.

Radon is an invisible, silent, hazardous, and odorless radioactive gas that silently enters into your home. Radon is a direct result of the decaying of a small amount of uranium found in the earth’s crust. Radon tends to enter through small holes and cracks in the walls and floors of your foundation, or through utility lines openings, drains, sump openings. Radon spreads rather quickly. Once radon enters your basement it can quickly spread to the above levels and living spaces of your home. Once radon enters your home it can put you and your family, as well as your health in danger of poisoning.

Why is radon so dangerous?

Radon is a very dangerous and hazardous gas because it breaks down quickly and instantly spreads throughout the air. Because radon has the tendency to break down at a rapid speed, larger amounts of radon can be dangerous to you and your health. Radon poisoning can occur without your knowledge and within a short amount of time. As quickly as the gas spreads in your home, you and your family are at immediate risk of radon poisoning.

How can radon be found?

Radon in the largest sources is located in the soil around and under homes, but radon can also be in the water you drink, the building materials in your home, or in the air you breathe.

Can radon levels elevate?

Since radon comes directly from the soil under and around your home, any home is placed at risk, especially those that have a dirt crawl space. Basements that only have a dirt crawl space are at risk to being exposed to maximum levels of radon.

Can my home be exposed to radon if I have a concrete basement?

Even if your basement has a concrete floor it is also at risk of hosting maximum levels of radon.
How is radon measured?

There are radon detectors that can be installed and monitored by professionals. By having the radon in your home under a constant careful eye allows the levels of radon to be continuously measured. This will also protect you and your family from radon poisoning exposure.

If you are on a tight budget, here are inexpensive to moderately priced devices and special detection equipment on the market. These devices and special detection equipment is available in most hardware stores and home building centers around the country.

These devices and special detection equipment is placed in your home for several days. After several days, the detection system is removed and sent to a processing center or lab where tests are performed to determine if radon is in your home, if you and your family have been exposed, as well as the level of radon. Once all the tests have been processed, a report will be sent to you to confirm if you do or do not have radon in your home.

Can radon put me and my family at risk of serious health issues?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 20,000 people die in the United States each year due to from radon related lung cancer. Men and women who smoke and have been exposed to the radioactive gas have a greater chance of developing lung cancer than those who do not smoke or use tobacco based products.

Studies have also shown, non-tobacco users and young children have a much higher chance of developing lung cancer when they have been exposed to the radioactive gas than those who have not been exposed, but young children tend to be more at risk of being exposed.

What is radon poisoning?

Since radon is the source of a decaying process, tiny radioactive particles are slowly and silently released into the air. Radon poisoning occurs when you inhale large mounts of high levels of the radioactive gas into your lungs. By breathing radon into your lungs it can cause moderate to severe damage to the lungs, resulting in lung cancer.

Why does radon poisoning occur?

Radon poisoning has a tendency to occur when crawl spaces, basements or mines are poorly encapsulated.

What are the signs of radon poisoning?

The Environmental Protection Agency has spent endless hours and money researching the symptoms and effects of this radioactive gas. There are indications to look for to tell if you and our family have been exposed to radon poisoning. Those symptoms are a persistent dry cough, hoarseness, respiratory infections, and respiratory issues.

What is the best way to confirm if I have been exposed to radon?

If you believe you or your family have been exposed to radon or if you are experiencing symptoms that you believe are from radon poisoning, it is best to seek medical attention. A physician will give you a complete check up, and run the appropriate tests to determine if you have been exposed to the radioactive gas, and what treatment will suit your specific needs.

How can I protect myself and my family from radon poisoning?

The United States Surgeon General’s office recommends all homeowners and landlords have their homes and rental properties tested for radon.

Radon Danger in Your Home – Know the Facts

Knowing about radon is more important than ever before, as new facts emerge about its deadly consequences. The United States Surgeon General re-emphasized to the nation in January of 2010 the fact that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking in the U.S. If you smoke AND the radon levels in your home are high, you will have a very high risk for lung cancer. What can you do? Plenty! And it’s easy.

First, what is radon? Radon comes from the natural radioactive breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water, and ends up in the air we breathe. Radon is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Although radon is found in all types of buildings, we get most of our exposure when we’re at home. Radon can exist in the air, and in our water source. Although radon levels vary throughout the United States, radon has been found in every state. You can see the average levels of radon by pulling up the maps on the internet by typing in radon maps.

What levels of radon are ok? Radon in the air is measured in “picocuries per liter of air”, or “pCi/L”. Generally speaking, levels less than 4 pCi/L are considered safe, although if you can reduce the levels further it’s a good idea. The really good news in all of this is that you can TEST for Milwaukee Radon home, and you can put systems in the home to lower radon levels. The systems for lowering the levels are relatively inexpensive. If you have a reading of just over 4pCi/L, you may be able to do some simple sealing of leaks around the crawlspace, foundation, or basement of your home to lower the levels in the home itself.

How should I get my home tested? Who should install a mitigation system if I need one? Good news here too. Testing your home is easy. The first way is to do it yourself by going to a home improvement store and buying a test kit. Follow the directions carefully to ensure the most accurate results. The second way to test your home is to call a professional radon tester. These individuals are trained and certified to administer and interpret the test and can advise you on what to do if your levels are high. The cost to get a professional to test your home is low – usually $125-$200. They will come to your home and leave several test canisters open to the air. They will give you specific instructions for the 2 days the canisters are active. They will then return and send the canister media to a certified, registered laboratory that will have the analysis within one or two days. You can contact your state radon office for a list of professionals who have registered with them, or you can call a local home inspector who routinely performs radon testing as part of the home sale. If you discover through testing that you need a radon reduction system, you should ask your professional tester for referrals or check with the state radon office. The person or company you choose should be a qualified, licensed contractor, preferably certified in radon mitigation, and you should get more than one estimate.

The last piece of good news is if you do need to reduce the levels of radon in your home, it is not expensive to do. A vent and fan system is usually the first line of defense, and will lower the radon to acceptable levels over 85% of the time. NOTE: If you do your own test and the reading comes out over 4pCi/L, I recommend that you call a professional for another test of your home to confirm your own reading.

Radon Mitigation Systems

Because there is a lot of risk of having radon gas present in buildings in the US, it has become a cause for concern for many homeowners and others who own buildings in the US, especially as the risks associated with inhaling the gas are many including being the fact that this gas is the second most important cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking. The need to select a proper solution with regard to radon mitigation systems is indeed high, especially if your building or home is located in a high risk area.

In fact, in some areas, before purchasing property, it is necessary to have a specific test performed to ensure that the building is free from radon gas. You have a number of choices with regard to choosing proper radon mitigations systems including having venting pipes to the exterior of the building in order to expel the gas from the building and this form of radon mitigation system is known as Passive mitigation system.

However, when even this radon mitigation system proves ineffective, and there is still noticeable gas in the home, then you need to choose another option which is the active radon mitigation system that requires installation of a fan that runs through the building and which will create low pressure under the slabs and thus increases the rate at which Radon gas is evacuated.

In this form of radon mitigation, you may need to place the fan in a place such as an attic, which is especially necessary if the foundation of the building is slab-on-grade type or even crawl-space. In addition, you should remember that it is necessary to ensure that the vent that runs through your building’s roof does not let water from the pipe drip down onto the slab underneath because it would prove to be harmful.

The cost of installing passive radon mitigation systems would be around one hundred and fifty dollars to three hundred dollars, while that of an active system would be about two hundred and fifty dollars to five hundred and fifty dollars more, though costs will ultimately depend on how big or small is the building.