Humans, on average, will take between 17,200 and 23,000 breaths per day. People also tend to spend a majority of their day inside. So if you think about it, that’s a lot of indoor air we’re breathing. Because of ventilation systems, air purifiers, houseplants, and air filters, we rarely think or worry about the air we are breathing inside or in the home. However, even with all the things that help to purify the air, there are still several household health hazards that could be floating around your living space, moving into your lungs, and setting up a permanent residence. One common hazard is radon gas.
Radon gas is everywhere, even in the air outside. The good thing about the outdoors is that the outside air is vast and open, so radon levels will stay relatively low. But the inside of a house is a completely different story. Since a house is an enclosed space, it traps the radon and causes it to build up. Being exposed to high levels of radon – more than 4 picocuries per liter – can be very dangerous, especially over extended periods of time. Now, no need to worry, this is a treatable thing. If your home has radon, there are effective ways to mitigate it. First, need to find out the levels in your home. Testing is the only method and way to know if your home has any dangerous levels of radon.
What Is Radon?
Radon is a gas that forms when radioactive metals (uranium, thorium, or radium) break down in soil, rocks or groundwater. Being exposed to low levels of radon is inevitable, because it is a naturally occurring gas. It is present in the air we breathe and, sometimes is found in the water we drink.
Unfortunately, radon is also a carcinogen. Meaning it can promote the formation of cancer. Radon is also colorless, odorless and tasteless, meaning it can be hard to detect. This is obviously very worrisome.
Risks of Radon Exposure
According to the EPA, radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. About 21,000 people have died annually from radon-related lung cancer . When you breathe in radon, it permeates the lining of your lungs. This over time can damage the cells with radiation and can lead to lung cancer.
How Does Radon Get Into Your Home?
Your home actually acts like a vacuum. Compared to the pressure found in the soil outside, your home typically has lower pressure. This “vacuum effect” ends up pulling the radon inside the home through several openings like:
- Floor-wall joints
- Cracks, pores and holes in the foundation
- Granite, brick, concrete or rock materials
- Loose-fitting pipe penetrations
- Mortar joints
- Sump pump
- Soil in unfinished crawl spaces
- Cavities inside walls
The most common way that radon enters your home is through soil around the house. Some areas of the U.S. are more prone to high radon levels, however, all homes are susceptible. The only way to know about the levels in your home is to test for them. Call Anchor Home Inspection today to schedule a radon test.