What is Radon and Where does Radon Gas Come From?
Radon is a radioactive element that stays gaseous under normal conditions. It comes from the decay or normal breakdown of uranium traces present in the soil. Since it is gaseous in form, radon moves up from the ground and enter your home through the cracks present in the foundation.
What makes radon so dangerous is that ---a household's water supply may also be contaminated through the same process. Since deep wells are located far below the ground, naturally occurring radon from the soil seeps in to the water supply. These unseen occurrences contaminate the air inside homes aside from the water supply. Radon air enters your home through faucets, showers and other water fixtures.
Since radon is radioactive, it increases one’s chance of forming cancer. According to scientific experts, an amount below 4 picocuries of radon per Liter (pCi/L) in an environment is considered tolerable. If the concentration reaches 4pCi/L or more it is considered a health risk as it exposes you and your family to radio active materials that lead to lung cancer. Accordingly, it was established that several lung cancer deaths had direct relations to indoor radon exposure.
It is said that smokers living in homes with high concentrations of radon has higher chances of getting lung cancer than that of a non-smoker. In fact, the prevalence of asthma for the past 20 years, affecting all age groups has continued to baffle the medical community. Despite, advanced developments in medical treatments, statistics reveal that asthma as a cause of death has doubled, averaging a rate of 5,000 deaths per year.
Indoor air pollution due to the presence of second hand smoke and other elements such as dust mites and molds are the known as asthma triggers. It has long been suspected that certain interaction in the environment contribute in increasing the likelihood of asthma being developed in all ages, specifically children under age 5 who represent the greater part of the statistics.
Hence, in its public information campaign the EPA is enjoining every home and every school in every community to test their building structures for radon. Every home is at risk from radon exposure since radium is a natural element of the soil.
EPA Recommendation - Test your Home for Radon
EPA recommends that every home should be tested for radon regardless of geographic location or zone designation in the EPA Map of Radon Zones. The map is only a supplemental data to provide the public sufficient information about radon.
You can either hire a professional to test your home for radon or use a do-it-yourself- home testing kit, which uses charcoal canisters, alpha-track detectors and other devices that react to the presence of radon substance. These detectors will then be sent to a laboratory for test analysis and results.
Home testing professionals employ a more active form of testing device said to be more accurate and reliable. The Active Radon test device can indicate the actual amount of radon concentration that pervades in your home but requires the use of electrical power in order to monitor the presence of radon gas in real time.
These testing devices are placed in the most frequented part of the house except the bathroom, hallway, kitchen, or laundry room and at a certain spot at least 20 inches above the floor where it will not be affected by drafts or humidity. Windows should be kept closed for 12 hours before testing to achieve results that are more accurate. It is best not to test if there is high humidity level or if there is bad weather. This can lead to inaccurate results because the device will have a higher chance of being moved.