Radon, a Harmful Element
Radon, being radioactive in nature, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless noble element. It is a part of the decay chain of naturally occurring uranium in the soil. Although smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer due to the carbon monoxide that it produces, radon is one of the reasons for lung cancer; the difference is the time taken to take effect. A person may be in the presence of radon for years without ever suspecting its presence, slowly leading to adverse health conditions.
The Entry of Radon Into Your Home
Radon gas is prone to rushing towards areas having low atmospheric pressure; even from several feet away. The inside of a house is very likely to have low atmospheric pressure due to the working of combustion appliances, like, furnaces, water heaters, and fireplaces, as well as exhaust fans and vents, reduce the indoor air pressure. The heated air inside a house tends to rise upwards creating low air pressure on the lower floors. Strong winds add to this. They can create a vacuum, and frozen and wet grounds make room for the radon gas to move upwards towards the porous gravel layer, eventually reaching the ground around the house and ultimately inside the house. Although most of the houses have a concrete foundation and a very hard one at that, it is surprising to know that concrete lets fluid substances pass through it, i.e., it is porous. As a result, the radon gas is sucked into the house due to the low air pressure and negative vacuum through the tiny cracks and crevices present in the cemented floor. In modern households, the radon gas that seeps in through the floor tends to accumulate in the basement and the lower location of the house. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is the airtight construction of modern buildings. The soil gas infiltration ranges from less than 1% to over 20% of the total “fresh air” infiltration into homes. There are various factors responsible for the diffusion of the radon gas atoms inside a house, such as heating and cooling of the temperature due to the use of air conditioners. Natural air movement is another factor responsible for distributing radon atoms throughout the interiors of a house.
Why is radon testing important?
Being a colorless, odorless, and transparent gas, there is a high chance that radon exists among us without getting detected, while we keep on breathing the contaminated air, slowly advancing towards fatal diseases like lung cancer. The chances of getting lung cancer are extremely high if you smoke, and living with high radon levels is simply an add-on to the problem. Radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States for non-smokers and claims the lives of about 21000 Americans every year. Hence, as fatal as it is, it is always recommended to get radon testing done to safeguard the future of your family. Radon testing takes about 48 hours.
What if my results are high?
A radon scale of 4.0 pCi/L or higher is considered a fatal level. If the radon level goes beyond it, it is recommended to get a radon remediation method installed. There are various techniques to liberate the radon gas out of the house but the most effective one is a vent pipe system and fan, which sucks the radon gas present beneath or in the lower levels of the house and vents it outside. A soil suction radon reduction system as it’s called doesn’t require big changes to your house.
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