What is Radon and Where Does it Come From?
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the soil, rock, and water. It is formed by the decay of uranium, which is found in trace amounts in most rocks and soil. As radon dissolves in groundwater, it may seep into homes and buildings through cracks and holes in the foundation or basement walls. Radon can also enter indoor spaces through construction materials and well water.
The Health Risks of Radon Exposure
Radon has no odor, taste, or color, which makes it impossible to detect without specialized equipment. Prolonged exposure to high levels of radon is a leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and is responsible for about 21,000 deaths in the US each year. Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.
Radon is a silent killer, as it takes years of exposure to high levels of radon to develop lung cancer. Symptoms do not appear until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage, and radon-related lung cancer is often diagnosed too late to be treated effectively.
The Risks of Radon in Homes
Radon can enter any home, regardless of age, location, or type of construction. The only way to know if a home has high levels of radon is to conduct a radon test. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one in every 15 homes in the US has high levels of radon. Homes with elevated radon levels can be found in every state, and levels can vary greatly even between two neighboring homes.
Homes with basements or crawl spaces are at a higher risk of radon exposure, as radon is most likely to enter through cracks and holes in basement floors and walls. However, radon can enter any level of a home through other entry points such as well water, construction materials, and drains.
Preventing and Mitigating Radon Exposure
A radon test is the only way to determine if a home has elevated levels of radon. Radon test kits are inexpensive and can be purchased online or at most hardware stores. The EPA recommends testing all homes for radon at least once every two years.
If a home has high levels of radon, there are several methods of reducing radon levels, which includes sub-slab depressurization, where a vent pipe is installed through the floor slab of the basement or crawl space, and a fan is used to pull the radon from the soil and vent it outside.
The Importance of Radon Awareness
Since radon is invisible and odorless, radon testing is the only way to know if a home has elevated levels of radon. Radon awareness and testing is essential for ensuring that the air in our homes is safe to breathe.
Homeowners should take radon seriously and test their homes on a regular basis. While it may seem like an additional expense, it is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your family is safe from the dangers of radon exposure.
Radon is a harmful gas that is present in many homes and buildings. The health risks associated with radon exposure are serious, and homeowners should take steps to test and mitigate radon levels in their homes. Radon awareness and testing are critical for protecting our families from the invisible killer that is radon. Be sure not to overlook this external source we’ve put together for you. You’ll find additional and interesting information about the topic, further expanding your knowledge. Measure Radon.
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