When you think about house maintenance or house purchase and construction, “radon” isn’t always something that comes to mind. In fact, unless you’re someone immensely invested in learning about houses and property, it’s very likely that a professional – like a home seller, or a real estate agent, or a health and safety personnel – may remind you to check radon for your home health. While you may have heard of radon from your Chemistry class, it’s actually more than just an element in passing. If you want to maintain your home health, checking your home’s radon levels is, in fact, essential to learning just exactly what measures you have to take to make your home extra safe outside your usual repairs.
Perhaps it’s extremely important to know about radon because as many as 20,000 deaths due to lung cancer every year are actually caused by radon. Scientists, in fact, consider radon the second-leading cost of cancer, and these numbers cost the United States as much as $2-billion in both indirect and direct health care costs annually. Almost one in three homes in every seven states are above the recommended numbers of the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S., which means these homes should start implementing measures to ensure their safety against the harmful effects of radon. However, what else should you know about radon in order to secure your family’s health? Here are some more facts:
The Basics: What Is Radon?
For starters, radon is a radioactive gas from radium that is naturally occurring in the environment – this means it’s something that is found everywhere. Its primary mode of transportation is via dust particles in the air, where it travels as radon decay products. What perhaps makes it deadly isn’t its presence itself, but instead when inhaled. This is because alpha particles or radiation energy becomes deposited in the lung’s surface tissues.
The Dangers of Radon
The World Health Organization classifies radon as a Class A-known human carcinogen, which means it’s something that causes cancer to humans – in this case, lung cancer. In fact, radon is believed to cause lung cancer deaths in 39-percent of smokers and 70-percent of non-smokers. Perhaps what makes radon so dangerous is that while there’s a significant difference in radon exposure from homes and mines, homes above 4pCi/L (the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard) may be as dangerous as mines. Studies concluded that 10-percent of all United States-based lung cancer deaths may be because of radon exposure indoors.
Radon And Home Health
Perhaps the primary concern homeowners have now is how exactly does knowing about radon help improve your home health. After all, it’s concerning if radon is everywhere and can cause cancer at the same time, right? This is where radon home inspection can come in. Radon, given its gaseous nature, can move through fill material and soil around house foundations. During the summer and heating season, negative pressure below homes tends to pull gases around the soil such as radon into lower the lower levels of a house. As such, radon can enter houses through walls and floors, or anywhere with an opening between soil and home. Small pore spaces in concrete blocks, cracks, and unsealed sumps, and even dirt floor crawl spaces become openings for radon.
- When radon enters a structure, it’s given freedom to move freely through the air. This means people and those living inside the structure can actually breathe radon into their lungs.
- Like any gas, radon can move around any structure through natural air movement and diffusion. It can get distributed by natural and mechanical means such as ventilation systems.
- The tasteless, odorless, and colorless nature of radon means there’s almost virtually no way to detect it in a home – almost, anyway. Perhaps the best way to find out if your home has healthy or unhealthy levels of radon is through radon tests.
Radon Testing: How It Works
Radon tests can be inexpensive, easy, and done privately, especially with the help of radon testing professionals. You may read more about radon testing professionals by looking some of them up and reading their available services, especially if you’re looking for specifics. However, radon testers can be extremely helpful for your home given that all home space is unique, especially when it comes to their degree of depressurization, maintenance, construction details, and local soil.
- The above means there’s no way of telling what your radon levels are unless you get tested yourself. This means you can’t give yourself an “estimated” radon level just by relying on a neighbor’s test.
- On the same token, we can’t exactly rely on previous test results to determine future and current radon levels for a home that has been weatherized, remodeled or had experienced changes to its ventilation and heating.
Conclusion: Knowing Is Caring For Health
If there’s anything this piece has shared, it’s that radon is, in fact, more than just an element you can find on Earth. While it’s something that is common everywhere, too much radon confined in a single place can be extremely dangerous for anyone’s health – and this is something you have to watch out for, especially for your family. Hopefully, this article gave you a heads up on what to do and why it’s important to pay close attention to your home’s radon levels to ensure home health.
Author: Jacob Douglas used to be a gas fitter before he started to become fascinated about Radon gas. Today he works with Radonova writing about the effects that Radon gas has on families and homes. When he’s not bringing awareness to Radon he’s spending quality time with family.