Disclaimer: Please perform your own research in regards to the health risks of radon, and the benefits of radon mitigation systems.
Radon is a radioactive odorless gas. It is caused by the breakdown of uranium in the Earth’s soil underground, and permeates into homes, offices – anywhere it can be contained. The greatest risk for exposure is in the home, where most people spend the majority of their time. Because radon is gaseous, it is easily inhaled, therefore the biggest health risk associated with the gas is lung cancer. That risk has been known to be amplified with those who smoke. Radon can also be present in water. The greatest risk associated is the release of radon as water temperature increases, such as during your shower. Mosts tests show that the risk of lung cancer due to the gas being inhaled is far greater than health risks during consumption. According to the EPA, radon causes more deaths than drunk driving per year.
Now that I have panicked my readers – radon has been known to be found all over the United States, not just locally. Fortunately, it can be tested for, and mitigated with relative ease. Radon is measured in picocuries per liter, or pCi/L. Radon can be tested with both short-term and long-term testing. Radon levels fluctuate with the season, the EPA recommends testing both short and long term, and considers 4 pCi/L or lower “safe(er) levels”. Test kits can be purchased from your local building inspector, or online. Radon monitors are also available.
Now, the “what can I do part” You can start by being proactive, and ventilating your home as much as possible, within reason. Keep in mind that the air we breathe outside can even have a small amount of radon. If your home is on a crawl space, keep the vents open when you can to create a cross ventilation below the living area of your home. This alone can dramatically decrease radon levels. Obviously, not all homes are constructed with a crawl space. Basements can be notorious for higher radon levels, as well as homes with a slab on grade type construction. Second, look into a radon mitigation system. There are several types of mitigation systems. All of them can be very effective, and dramatically, (almost entirely) mitigate the gas. Usually, it’s a form of depressurization or suction – in other words a fan that creates a draw beneath the slab or floor system of your home that pumps the gas outside. Homes recently constructed will likely even have built-in radon resistant features, where a fan can be added to further reduce the levels the radon in your home. Either way, a radon mitigation system can be added to any home, whether or not pre-existing features exist.
One time use tests can be as little as $20.00, and mitigation systems can range from 500 to $3000.00 depending on the application. Feel free to email me for more information!