Radon is a dangerous gas undetectable to the unaided eye and nose. It’s of growing concern as we have begun to better understand the role that radon in your home plays in lung cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Surgeon General estimate that radon causes about 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year. In fact, it’s the second leading cause of cancer in America. If you’re concerned about radon in your home, and you should be, here’s everything you need to know about to detect it and get rid of it.
What is Radon?
It’s a radioactive gas that is the natural byproduct of uranium decaying in the soil or rock beneath us. Some areas of the earth are naturally higher in uranium than others, and thus some places are particularly higher in radon. The gas has no color, taste, or smell, so only radon testing can find whether you have radon in your home.
How Prevalent is Radon?
Again, some areas are worse than others, depending on how much uranium is in the ground. In seven states that the EPA checked, as well as three Indian lands, one in every three homes had radon levels over the recommended EPA action level for exposure. Nationwide, about one in five homes is believed to have excessive radon levels. The gas normally enters through the basement or ground levels.
How Can I Test For Radon?
There are both short-term tests and long-term tests. One option is to get the inexpensive short-term test, and it if shows anything of concern to then get the more accurate long-term test. A radon testing contractor can do the test, and short-term tests take between two and 90 days. Long-term tests are done over a period of time longer than three months.
What Happens if I Do Have Too Much Radon?
There are several methods of getting rid of radon in your home. In one method, a pipe is installed through the basement floor and then out the roof or a wall. A fan directs basement air into the pipe and thus out of the house. In addition, or sometimes instead, it’s possible to seal the floor and walls of the basement to keep the radon from coming in at all. This doesn’t always work, but your local radon mitigation and abatement service can give you more specific information about the needs of your home.
Do Mitigation Systems Work?
Passive systems have been shown to reduce levels of radon in your home by more than half. When combined with fans, even greater reduction levels can easily be achieved.
If your family is being exposed to radon at levels at or above the EPA’s action level, they are getting 35 times the radiation dose they would be getting if the whole family stood just outside the fence surrounding a waste site for radioactive material. Don’t play around with your family’s safety. There could be radon in your home, so get it checked out today.