Home Radon Facts

It was estimated that more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths are due to radon. Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas that you cannot smell, taste or see but may be a problem in your home. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and has cost the US more than $2 billion every year in health care costs. It is a colorless chemically-unreactive inert gas and nine times denser compared to air. It easily penetrates to most common materials such as leather, paper, low-density plastic, building materials, paints, mortar, concrete block, wood panelling, sheating paper and most insulations.

A home that is exposed to 4 pCi/l levels of radon is exposed to around 35 times as much radiation as allowed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. For instance, a grade school student who spends eight hours a day and 180 days every year in a classroom that has a 4 pCi/l radon level will get almost ten times radiation as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows. The main exposure to radon is through ingestion and inhalation. Radon in grounds, building materials and groundwater enters a living space and dissolves into decay products. While high radon may contribute to exposure by ingestion, inhalation from water is usually more dangerous.

Testing is your only way of knowing the radon levels in your home since there are no immediate symptoms that could alert you of its presence. Normally, it takes years before problems could appear. High radon levels have been discovered in every state. If you discover that your home has high radon concentrations, there are methods of reducing it to normal levels. Most radon problems can be fixed for under $500 by doing it yourself. If you require a professional to help you, you can look for certified radon mitigators in your area.

Most homeowners have already tested their homes. In the US, one out of every 15 homes has elevated levels of radon. It is necessary to contact the radon office in your state for general information. Although radon problems are more common in some areas, any home could have a problem. Because there is no established safe level of radon, there are always potential risks in your home. However, you can minimize the risk by lowering the radon level in your property.

Reduce home radon levels by sealing cracks in walls and floors. You can also use simple systems such as pipes and fans. Keep in mind that major home renovations could change the radon level in your home, so make sure to do a test again after the work your renovation is done. You can purchase test kits in hardwares or other retail outlets. In the event that you do the testing yourself and you discover high radon levels in your home, refrain from installing an exhaust fan in the basement. Keep in mind that radon remediation must meet certain standards of construction and design. Most municipalities require a licensed contractor to apply for a remediation permit and install the system.