Knowing the risks of potential radon exposure is important to ensure your and your family’s health. While radon is a naturally occurring gas that’s everywhere all the time, it’s the cumulative exposure to high concentration levels that becomes dangerous.
What Is Radon?
Radon is a type of naturally-occurring radioactive gas that is colorless, odorless, and inert. It’s typically found all around us, but only in trace amounts, and is not particularly considered harmful outdoors. It is when it is trapped in spaces and structures like homes, buildings, schools, and workplaces that can cause problems, the biggest of them all being lung cancer.
Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, with around 21,000 people dying from radon-related cancer.
Is Your Home Safe?
Because the risk presents itself indoors, it’s important to know how safe you are in your home. Are there hotspots in the US for radon? According to the EPA, yes there are.
The current national guideline for “safe” radon levels is at 4pCi/L (148Bq/m3), but the average level in 8% to 12% of all homes tested are over and beyond the maximum “safe” levels.
According to further studies, it’s been found that the following 10 US States have the highest average Radon levels:
- Alaska (10.7)
- South Dakota (9.6)
- Pennsylvania (8.6)
- Ohio (7.8)
- Washington (7.5)
- Kentucky (7.4)
- Montana (7.4)
- Idaho (7.3)
- Colorado (6.8)
- Iowa (6.1)
Technically speaking, there are no “safe” levels of radon in homes. That’s because it’s not the amount of radon present that makes it dangerous per se, but rather the prolonged and cumulative exposure to it. Therefore, if it’s concentrated in your home, you’re likely to have a higher risk of getting lung cancer because of your constant exposure to it, regardless of levels.
Should I Test for Radon?
For your own peace of mind, especially if you live in any of the hotspots listed above, then testing for radon in your home is a good idea. Especially because you can get a DIY test kit easily online, you should be able to find the answer you’re looking for in no time. There are also available radon gas sensors that can provide daily or weekly readings.
Once you know how big of an exposure you have in your home or workplace, then you can start figuring out next what to do about it.
What Can I Do To Minimize Radon Levels Indoors?
Other, more complicated methods can be done to mitigate radon exposure, but the most common and easiest way is to redirect the radon outdoors. This can be done using a vent in the crawl spaces or basements, preferably with dirt floors, with a poly vapor barrier membrane, where a passive radon stack can be positioned underneath.
But before you proceed with any of that, it’s best that you first consult with professionals to safely inspect your home.
Categorised in: Radon
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