What is radon?
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and chemically inert radioactive gas. Without testing, there is no way of telling how much is present.
Radon is formed by the natural radioactive decay of uranium in rock, soil, and water. Low levels of uranium naturally occur in Earth’s crust. It can be found in all 50 states. Radon moves through the ground to the air above while some remains below the surface and dissolves in water.
Radon has a half-life of about four days. When radon undergoes radioactive decay, it emits ionizing radiation in the form of alpha particles. It also produces short-lived decay products which are also radioactive.
What is the recommended action level for Radon?
Mitigation research indicates that elevated levels can be reduced to 4 pCi/L or less 95% of the time. Research shows that 2 pCi/L can be achieved 70% of the time. Today’s mitigation technology can reduce radon levels to between 2 and 4 pCi/L most of the time. EPA states that 4 pCi/L is a recommended action level, yet homeowners can further reduce their potential lung cancer risk by mitigating homes that are below 4 pCi/L.
Any radon exposure carries some risk; no level of radon exposure is always safe. However, the EPA recommends homes be fixed if an occupant’s long-term exposure will average 4 (pCi/L) or higher.
How does Radon affect us?
Symptoms of elevated Radon gas exposure can include: shortness of breath, a new or worsening cough, pain or tightness of the chest and trouble swallowing.
Breathing Radon gas exposes the lungs to small amounts of radiation. Long-term exposure contributes to 21,000 deaths from lung cancer each year according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – making Radon exposure the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
The most common resolution to unacceptable levels of Radon is the installation of a vent pipe system and fan. This system pulls Radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside, keeping your levels low and decreasing the risks to your health.