Archive for the ‘General’ Category
Air Quality Concern in America
You may have heard before that the air quality of the United States is poor, but did you know that roughly three million people die from poor air quality? The EPA has taken action with the help of the Clean Air Act to make our breathing air much cleaner, but their efforts are futile without the help of everyone.
To break it down, there are two categories for air pollutants; indoor and outdoor. It is important to take action against both, although outdoor air pollution can only change if everyone pitches in. Indoor air quality is the reason for roughly two million of the three million deaths each year. It is important to know that an air purification can improve the air quality of your home, and dramatically reduce levels of radon gas, one of the biggest threats to indoor air quality.
Outdoor Air Quality
Outdoor air quality is being measured by the EPA nearly instantaneously. The EPA has set up measurements across the United States which measure ground level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide. This is all summed up into one number indicating the overall health risk of being exposed to these levels of pollutants in your area.
The name for this scale is the air quality index. The scale ranges from 0 to 500, with 0 being the safest level of pollutants, and 500 being extremely unsafe. Shockingly enough, anything above 50 on this scale indicates some level of risk, and this risk level only increases. Right now, there are areas in the United States that have levels in excess of fifty, meaning unsafe air for those areas, and possible long term health risks such as death.
Indoor Air Quality
A higher rate of death actually comes from indoor air quality. Indoor air quality is a major concern as one of the largest contributors to death is radon gas. The danger about radon gas is that it cannot be smelled or seen. The only way to truly detect radon gas is through multiple tests to your home, and averaging the score for the most accurate reading.
Radon gas may enter your home through the foundation, building materials, or even the water supply. Most building materials such as granite are not tested for this horrible gas. Naturally forming from radium in the soil, this gas may seep into your home without notice.
Taking action is what we all should do this month, as October is air quality awareness month. This is the month to read up on radon gas, and see what actions you may do to improve the air quality of your home. S.W.A.T. Environmental has the solution for you, offering complete radon mitigation systems built custom for your threat, and installed by an experienced, certified professional for cheaper than you may think. Stop worrying about air quality, and start doing something about it with a new radon mitigation system from S.W.A.T. Environmental.
S.W.A.T. Environmental Recognized Nationally for Rapid Growth
Whether or not you have heard of S.W.A.T. Environmental, we are quickly becoming a household name across the United States. Offering radon reduction for over forty locations across America has made us the golden standard for radon mitigation. We were not always such a large company, and actually started from very humble beginnings. We began in 1988 with only one radon specialist. Now we boast a team of over 100 employees, and have experienced 3000% growth in the past ten years! While this has been tremendous, we continue to keep our work quality to the same standard.
We recently received national recognition when we were published in Inc. Magazine. Inc. magazine delivers the latest news for businesses worldwide. Each year Inc Magazine provides a list of the fastest growing companies in America, and we had the honor this year to appear on this list. We ranked thirteenth in fastest growing for the environmental industry, and are the first radon mitigation company to ever appear on this list.
Growing Need for Radon Mitigation Nationwide
As you can tell from our rapid growth, radon mitigation is a need that over 8 million households in the United States should have. You see, the EPA has deemed radon gas harmful for your health, and has actually linked it to lung cancer. It is estimated that roughly 8 million homes have above acceptable levels of radon gas, meaning 8 million homes need to have a radon mitigation system installed, or else they will continue breathing this harmful gas.
Even though radon gas was discovered, and found to be radioactive in the early 1900′s, we still have not properly spread the dangers of this gas over a century later. Until recently, many did not know that a radioactive material could natural occur right beneath your home, and easily enter through cracks, as a gas does not need much space to enter. As uranium breaks down in your soil, radon gas forms, and may enter through your foundation, basement, or even water supply.
Calling a Professional Radon Mitigation Company
When you call S.W.A.T. Environmental, you know that you are getting the quality service needed. S.W.A.T. Environmental has been in the radon mitigation industry for over two decades, meaning no matter how difficult your situation is, we can provide our excellent service for your home or business. We have all the certifications necessary, and know all the proper procedures and standards to remove radon gas from your home. We have established ourselves as the largest radon mitigation company, and have taught our specialists the proper techniques in order to ensure that your home or business has a mitigation system installed the right way. We have professionals waiting to answer any questions you may have, and we always offer a free estimate on all of our services. Call the company the rest of America has chosen, and start breathing easier today.
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.
Effects of High Radon Levels
You may have heard of radon, but not really understand what it is or how it can impact your family. Radon is simply a radioactive noble gas. It is quite dense and has no taste and no odor. When elements like uranium and thorium decays, they create radon gas as a byproduct. When the radon gas itself begins to decay, radioactive elements called radon daughters start to emerge. These daughters are not gaseous, but tiny solid particles. They can cling to dust in the air and travel into your lungs when you breathe. Afterwards, they can stick to the walls of your airways, causing a variety of health problems.
Buildings can fill with radon gas that is emitted naturally from the soil and rock beneath the foundation. Poorly ventilated rooms, of course, fill with radon gas the most quickly, but any building can be vulnerable to radon contamination. Basements are often the most common location for elevated radon levels. Breathing elevated radon levels has been directly linked to lung cancer. With the exception of smoking cigarettes, radon is the most common cause of lung cancer, resulting in over 20,000 deaths a year in North America. Many of the people who die this way have never smoked a cigarette in their lives, making radon the top cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
Detecting High Radon Levels in Your Home
Radon levels cannot be detected by your senses since the gas is odorless and colorless. However, there are other ways to measure radon levels. For example, you can purchase personal use home radon test kits. Many of these kits use charcoal or foam to collect radioactive particles that may be floating in the air. Other test options are more long term, and may take up to three months to complete. The best option is to have experts from SWAT Environmental professionally test your home. The results of a professional test are both much faster and much more accurate than those from a typical home test.
New homes can be designed to prevent elevated radon levels in the first place. However, if your home did not have this type of system installed during its construction, you should have your home’s radon levels tested regularly. If these levels ever become dangerously elevated, you can have SWAT Environmental’s specialists analyze your home to determine how best to expel the radon gas from your house, as well as how to prevent it from returning. This process is known as radon mitigation. Different homes can require significantly different radon mitigation techniques and systems to most effectively handle their radon levels.
Elevated radon levels are a threat that you should take very seriously. That being said, testing your home for radon is affordable and easy. If your home does contain higher radon levels than what is considered safe for human exposure, eliminating it could potentially save your life.
Effects on the Human Body
Radiation can be briefly defined as energy that is emitted from the energy source in rays or waves, or in particles from radioactive substances. Human beings are exposed to radiation all the time, from the atmosphere, from electronic devices like televisions, microwaves, radios, cell phones, and computers, and every time we have an X-ray performed in a hospital or medical office. Radiation cannot be avoided completely and conventional wisdom says that the levels of radiation human beings are exposed to are generally not high enough to cause serious illness. But there can be long-term consequences to exposure to radiation, either from one acute single dose or from constant smaller doses over time. This article will define and discuss the consequences of environmental, medical, and nuclear radiation for the health of the human body.
Environmental radiation comes from many sources. Most people on earth are exposed to very small amounts of radiation from outer space. Sunburn is a form of skin injury caused by prolonged exposure or overexposure of the skin to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. As most people know, serious sunburns can often lead to skin cancer later on. In addition to cosmic radiation, human beings can be exposed to radiation caused by the decay of various radioactive materials here on earth, like uranium and plutonium. These materials are present in the earth’s crust, and when they decompose, they can leave very dangerous radon in their wake. Radon can seep into houses, is usually found in basements, and can cause cancer to the inhabitants of the house after prolonged exposure.
Nearly every homeowner has encountered the term “radon” either during the selling or purchasing process. Homeowners have good reason to be aware of the potential presence of radon in their home, to test radon levels, and install radon ventilation systems if the radon levels are high. Many prospective home-buyers, however, choose to forgo radon testing prior to purchasing their new home, because they are uneducated or misinformed regarding what radon is and the detrimental long-term effects it can have on the health and vitality of their families.
What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally-occurring, colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is highly radioactive and extremely dense (nine times more dense than air!). It was discovered in 1899-1900 by two European physicists, Ernest Rutherford and Friedrich Ernst Dorn. Although there are many forms of radon, Radon-222 is the type that occurs most frequently in the environment.
Radon can be highly concentrated in groundwater and in the ground under where a building is constructed; the ingestion of this contaminated water, and the inhalation of the radon particles released from this water, are the two primary ways in which people are exposed to this radioactive substance. As radon decays, the particles attach to microscopic airborne materials, like dust, which facilitates its inhalation by humans.
Lung cancer is widely known as being a deadly result of smoking, however it can still afflict those who have never picked up a cigarette. Cancer, while sometimes triggered by an outside factor, is the random proliferation of cells. The body is supposed to regulate cell division, but when something interferes with its ability to maintain a balance, cells can divide at an exponential rate, causing tumors. Benign tumors pose a small threat to the body, but can usually be surgically removed. Malignant tumors, on the other hand, start in one part of the body and spread to others. This form must be treated with more complicated and less effective methods. Lung cancer spreads quickly once it forms, and it is among the hardest types to treat. In the first year, only 40% are expected to survive; by the third year, the number drops to 10%. Lung cancer takes more lives each year than colon, prostate, and breast cancer do combined, making it the deadliest form of cancer.
No. 2 Cause of Lung Cancer: Radon Gas
Tobacco products have been blamed for anywhere between 80% to 96% of lung cancer cases, but staying away from cigarettes does not guarantee healthy lungs. Secondhand smoke increases the risk, making up approximately 3,000 of the 160,000 lung cancer deaths each year. However, even without exposure to tobacco products or smoke, a person can still contract lung cancer. Asbestos has become a well known factor in causing mesothelioma, but it is also linked to lung cancer. Asbestos fibers can stay in the lungs for a lifetime, and people who have had exposure are five times as likely to develop lung cancer, even if they have never smoked. Radon gas, a product of uranium decay, causes around 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year. This makes it the second leading cause of lung cancer. While most people would not consider radon gas to be a threat, the Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that almost 7% of houses contain a dangerous level of the gas, which can travel through soil. It has been shown that genetic predisposition can attribute to lung cancer development. History of lung disease, including prior lung cancer, increases the risk as well. Approximately 1% of lung cancer comes from air pollution. While smoking increases the chances, any of these risk factors alone can cause lung cancer.
When it is determined that a house has unsafe levels of radon gas, what options are available for radon mitigation? How can this poison radon gas be safely removed from the house?
The radon mitigation options appropriate for a house depend on the construction type of the house. Houses with basements, slabs, or crawl-spaces may require different techniques. For houses with basements or slabs, the most common technique for radon remediation is active subslab suction which may also be called subslab depressurization. This approach places one or more suction pipes through the slab into the material underneath the house. These pipes are then connected to a fan that draws the radon gas through the pipes and vent it above the house where it is safely dispersed.
There are other variants of this approach available as well. These variations use existing features of the house to connect to the suction pipes and provide for radon evacuation. Options include using existing perforated pipes or drain tiles around the foundation of the house, using a sump-pump hole, or using the space inside of the foundation walls found in block-wall foundations to remove the radon.
For houses with crawl-spaces, a similar technique for radon remediation is available. This approach, called submembrane suction, places a plastic sheet in the crawl-space directly above the ground and then uses a suction pipe and fan to draw the radon out from underneath the plastic and vent it to the outside. It is possible to attempt this without the plastic sheet, but it is less effective and may cause other airflow issues in the house, including increased energy costs.