What Is Radon And Where Does It Come From?
Radon is a tasteless, odorless, invisible, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in our environment. It can cause damaging health effects, including lung cancer, when it is inhaled for prolonged periods of time.
Radon is an indirect decay product of Uranium, which is present in natural gas, water, rock, and soils.
Radon generates within the soil and travels into a home through its foundation. Pressure variations between a building’s foundation and the soil result in a vacuum-like condition that pulls Radon gas into the home through cracks and small openings in the foundation.
How Common Is Radon?
Radon is found everywhere in the environment, is present in all 50 U.S. states, and is a fairly common problem for Missouri. In fact, Radon is common enough to be known as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and according to the EPA, nearly 1 in 15 homes have elevated dangerous levels of Radon. In Missouri, those numbers are estimated to be 1 in 5.
What Cause Radon To Enter A Building?
Pressure variations between a building’s foundation and the surrounding soil result in a vacuum-like condition that can ultimately pull Radon gas from the soil and bring it into the home through cracks and small openings in the foundation.
When Radon gas seeps into poorly ventilated buildings, it cannot be diluted and may result in significant levels of accumulation, presenting potential serious health risks to you and your family. Devastating effects, like cancer, can manifest if the Radon levels are not controlled.
How Do I Know If I Have A Radon Problem?
Testing is easy and inexpensive.
There are short-term tests (about 48 hours) that collect your air quality sample.
When we test for you with our continuous Radon monitors, you will likely get results the same day we pick up the monitor.
Long-term tests are also available, which gives you a more accurate result of the Radon levels in your home. These tests are usually done over a 90-day period or longer.
How Is Radon Measured?
Radon is measured in picoCuries per liter of air (pCi/L).
While no level of Radon exposure is considered safe, the EPA has set an action level at 4.0 pCi/L
If a Radon test in a home shows levels at or above 4.0 pCi/L, action should be taken to fix the Radon health threat.
How Do I Test For Radon?
What Should I Do If My House Has Elevated Radon Levels?
What Factors Can Influence Radon Levels In My Home?
Can I Just Seal The Cracks In The Floor Or Open Windows?
Sealing alone is not a solution, but it is a step in the process of mitigation.
Diluting the Radon gas by opening doors and windows may seem like a solution, but it is impractical and would typically only be done until a permanent system can be placed.
What If I Am Buying Or Selling A House?
Testing for Radon is a common step of real estate transactions.
If a Radon problem exists, rest assured that it is fixable.
A mitigation system can be custom installed to reduce the unwanted Radon levels.
Why Is Radon A Threat To Your Health?
One of the most potent causes of lung cancer could be hiding in your home. There are no early symptoms of Radon exposure. Although it is radioactive, it cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. Its presence in your home can only be known by testing for it.
Unlike carbon monoxide poisoning and inhalation of similar airborne substances, Radon gas symptoms don’t include the quick onset of headaches, dizziness, nausea, or unbearable drowsiness.
Radon is a known Class-A carcinogen, meaning it is a cancer-causing agent. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute, and the Surgeon General’s Office, an estimated 21,000 fatal cases of lung cancer each year in America alone can be attributed to Radon exposure. It’s the country’s second leading cause of lung cancer and the primary contributing factor among non-smokers.