Radon is a concern because the dangerous gas cannot be seen, smelt, or tasted. The gas is something that every homeowner must take seriously and test for in their home. Tests for radon are simple and quick, as is the process of lowering the level of the dangerous substance.
An Unexpected Discovery
The decay of uranium in the soil causes the production of the gas known as radon. The discovery of the substance occurred in 1900, but it was not until 1984 that it became a household concern. On that year, radon was accidentally discovered to exist in homes.
A nuclear power plant employee set off radiation alarms when arriving at work. An investigation revealed that the exposure to the radiation did not happen at his workplace but at his home. Experts involved in the investigation realized that the home radiation levels were not an aberration but a risk everyone needed to take seriously.
The EPA completed the investigation in the matter and eventually determined what level of radon is safe for people to have in their homes. The organization recommended everyone have their home tested. Remediation plans were developed to help homes that showed elevated radon levels.
The Health Risk
Radon is a gas, so it is easily inhaled and spread through body tissue. The odorless gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and scientists believe it may be responsible for other types of cancer as well.
Everyone is vulnerable to the dangers of radon, but cigarette smokers may have a higher risk of lung cancer when exposed to the gas. The existing damage to the lungs from smoking may be what puts them more at risk. The connection is only a theory, but cancer patients in homes with radon problems are statistically more likely to be cigarette smokers.
An Equal Concern
Radon is found everywhere in the United States because it exists wherever uranium is in the soil. The low levels of gas in the environment are not a health risk. It is only when the gas is trapped and its level builds that it becomes a health concern.
The Testing Process
Several methods of testing are available to discover radon levels. Short-term tests collect samples in a home for a period of a couple days or for up to three months. Long-term kits take several months to complete.
The testing devices are placed in the lowest level of the home to collect the air sample. Most experts prefer a long-term test sample because it gives a more conclusive result. EPA-approved tests, done personally or by a professional service, are the only tests homeowners should rely on for an accurate result.
A Simple Solution
Unsafe levels of radon do not make a home unlivable or force the homeowners to undergo major renovations. Homeowners simply need to reduce the amount of radon that leaks into the home and ventilate the house better to remove the gas trapped inside.
If radon gets into a home through cracks in the foundation, then sealing these cracks slows or stops radon leakage. A contractor can also install fans to bring fresh air into the basement. Another possibility is to add a system that treats the soil under the home before radon can enter.
The only way to know how much radon is in a home is with a test. At Hygenix Inc., we offer environmental testing that alerts homeowners to problems like radon and helps them to find solutions that make their home safer. Contact us today to schedule a test or to learn more about our services.