Archive for July, 2012
Defeating the Silent Threat: Waterborne Radon in the Home
Radon in water is one of the most serious cancer-causing agents in America. Therefore, exposure to it is a danger that all homeowners should consider. Radon can affect houses of every size and type and can threaten both brand new homes and those that were built some time ago. For this reason, ensuring that the home is free of radon is of vital importance for all homeowners.
Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that is also naturally radioactive. It is produced during the process of radioactive decay in uranium, which is found to some degree in all rock and soil. Generally, the radon itself decays, releasing various forms of radiation including gamma rays, alpha and beta radiation. This process continues over a long period of time until the radon is reduced to a non-radioactive form.
When human beings are exposed to radon, lung cancer can result as the radioactive material is inhaled into the lungs where it attacks the vulnerable lung tissue. Due to this effect, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Only habitual smoking poses a higher risk of lung cancer.
Sources of Radon in Water
Radon in water is dangerous because any disturbance of the water, such as heating it or using it in the shower or washing machine, can lead to the waterborne radon being released into the air where it can then be inhaled into the lungs. Therefore, contaminated water is the second greatest source of dangerous levels of household radon.
The primary source of waterborne radon is well-based water. Water drawn from granite-based wells, which are commonly known as artisan wells, is often the source of the high levels of radon gas that is dissolved into the well water. Thus, homes and water systems that are heavily supplied from groundwater sources are at a higher risk of high levels of dissolved radon and the subsequent danger of airborne radon contamination.
Testing and Mitigation Strategies for Radon in Water
There are many relatively inexpensive test kits available for purchase that you can use to estimate the radon levels in your home’s water supply. In many cases, the state itself may provide these kits, or at least have information on where they may be obtained. Regardless, however, many homeowners choose to have SWAT Environmental perform an in-depth professional check of the home to determine the amount of radon in its water supply.
If high levels of waterborne radon are detected, there are a number of methods to deal with it, depending on the level of contamination. A common method for eliminating radon is the use of granular activated carbon filters, which bind the radon to the carbon. Specialized water aeration systems are another option; they allow the radon to be harmlessly dispersed into the outside air. SWAT Environmental’s radon abatement specialists will be able to determine how best to handle the problem in your home.
Waterborne radon can be a serious home health hazard, but by testing for radon and relying on effective and economical mitigation strategies, your house can be rendered radon-free.
The Invisible Danger of Radon
Radon is a silent killer of that can be found all over the world. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is released from decaying radioactive elements found naturally in rock and soil. Radon can become extremely dangerous when it accumulates in confined indoor spaces; due to the radioactive particles it contains, it is carcinogenic to humans who have been exposed to significant amounts of the gas. Radon distribution throughout a home or office is directly related to the building’s ventilation. The poorer the ventilation, the higher the likelihood of radon concentration.
Radon Abatement and Preventing Radon Entry
For radon abatement to be successful, SWAT Environmental’s experts must determine where the gas is coming from in the first place. There are several ways by which radon can enter a home. One of the most common is by seeping through cracks in the floor or walls of a concrete foundation. Another typical entry point is the spaces between the basement walls and slab. An opening around a sump pump or drain is another fairly common way radon can infiltrate a home, as is a crawl space.
Determining the Necessity of Radon Abatement
Since radon is present in the ground everywhere in the United States to some degree, the Environmental Protection Act suggests that every home be tested for radon. Unfortunately, none of your five senses will pick up on the presence of radon gas; obviously, it would be foolish to wait until signs of radon poisoning show up before taking action. If you wish, you can purchase a home radon test kit; however, the professional test SWAT’s experts perform is much more accurate and quick.
The Impact of Radon Abatement
If unsafe levels of radon are detected in your home, you should have radon abatement performed as soon as possible. SWAT Environmental’s radon abatement specialist will be able to analyze the problem and tackle it from every angle. In many cases, the first step is to seal all obvious points of entry for the gas. However, complete protection from radon gas requires diverse and complex approaches, depending on the situation. For example, active soil depressurization units can be added to the home to reduce radon levels. Put in simple terms, these systems work by pumping contaminated air out from beneath the house, then expelling it out and away from the house into the open air where it will do no harm, bypassing the home in the process. Additional components of the system help replace the air inside the house with clean air from outside.
In conclusion, radon abatement may be needed in your home, but you would never know it without first conducting a radon test. If the test concludes that high levels of radon are present in your home, then you and your family are in danger. SWAT’s abatement specialists can design a system of radon mitigation that ensures you are kept safe.