What Is Radon?
Radon is a cancer-causing gas that comes from the radioactive decay of uranium and radium. These elements exist naturally in rocks like granite which is prominent here in our state of Colorado. Like carbon monoxide it is tasteless, colorless and odorless. It is recommended by the EPA that all homes should be tested and that steps are taken to fix the home if the radon levels are at 4 pCi/L or higher.
The Colorado Department of Public Health have found each of the state’s 64 counties to have a high radon risk and estimate that about half of all Colorado homes have radon levels above the EPA recommended action level.
What are the effects of radon?
The effects of radon can be serious. Radon breaks down into radioactive particles that can be inhaled and become trapped inside the lungs. As these particles break down further they can damage the lung tissue and alter the DNA of the cells.
Surgeon General Health Advisory:
“Indoor radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country. It’s important to know that this threat is completely preventable. Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques.”
U.S. EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes
In June 2003, the EPA revised its risk assessment for radon exposure in homes. EPA estimates that about 21,000 annual lung cancer deaths are radon related. EPA also concluded that the effects of radon and cigarette smoking are synergistic, so that smokers are at higher risk from radon. EPA’s revised estimates are based on the National Academy of Sciences 1999 BEIR IV (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) Report which concluded that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.
How Radon Enters Your Home
The negative pressures in a building act like a vacuum drawing it into your home from the soil under and around your foundation. These negative pressures and vacuums are created by two things, temperature differences between inside and outside air, and mechanical exhaust systems that take air out of the home. The easiest way for radon to enter you home is through permeable soil areas, such as a crawl space, and drainage systems like a sump. But since radon is a single atom it can be drawn into you home through even the smallest openings such as…
Cracks In solid floors
Cracks In Walls
Gaps In Suspended floors
Gaps Around Service Pipes
Cavities In walls
How To Test For Radon
Do It Yourself:
There are many test kits available online and at home improvement stores. These tests kits range in price from about 10-50 dollars and are left in your home for a period of time before being mailed to a testing laboratory that will send you your results.
Hire a Certified Radon Measurements Contractor:
These professionals know where to place the radon testing devices and interpret the results according to EPA protocols. They are also familiar with different types of measuring devices which may allow them to provide you with your level faster than a do-it-yourself testing kit.
How Does a Radon Mitigation System Work?
The primary method used to remove radon from you home is with a pipe system and fan that draws radon from the soil under your home before it enters and vents it outside past the roofline. This process is known as active soil depressurization. It can work with many different types of construction and has been proven to reduce radon levels by as much as 99%.