Posts Tagged ‘radon’
Frequently Asked Questions about Radon Mitigation
What is radon?
Radon is a dense, radioactive chemical element that exists mainly as a gas. It is invisible, colorless and odorless. Radon gas often accumulates in low-lying areas, such as basements, and exists in many homes without the knowledge of the house’s occupants. Radon gas has been identified as a carcinogen, and has been linked to cases of lung cancer across the country.
Where does radon gas come from?
Radon gas is a byproduct of the natural decay of uranium and similar elements. These elements can be found naturally in certain types of rock, including granite, igneous and limestone, as well as in soil and water. Hot springs can also contain high concentrations of radon.
Although humans are susceptible to ingesting radon by drinking contaminated water, the risk of ingesting significant traces is usually fairly small. It is also possible to consume radon by eating agricultural products that are grown in radon-contaminated soils, but the risk of eating foods that contain high concentrations is also low. Radon poses the most serious threat to humans when it is inhaled. Radon gas can make its way into a home by slipping through cracks in the foundation that lead to the outside. Any pathway that air could take is one that radon could also potentially use.
What types of environments are likely to contain radon?
In general, underground environments have the greatest probability of containing high levels of radon gas. Places such as tunnels and mines are at the greatest risk of accumulating radon. As dangerous as basement radon levels can be, they are usually only a fraction of the strength of radon in underground mines. This is why miners and other underground workers are warned of the potentially severe health risks of the job before they sign an employment contract.
How do I know if there is radon gas in my home?
It can be very difficult to tell if you have radon gas in your house since radon gas does not exhibit properties that are identifiable by human senses. Home radon test kits are commonly available. The short-term kits include a device that is placed in the lowest level of the home. It is left there for several days to absorb the radon, and then sent off to be analyzed. This type of kit is inexpensive and easy to acquire. Long-term radon kits are also produced, and the collectors that come with these sit for up to a year. Long-term kits are more costly, but they are also more accurate. However, a professional test from SWAT Environmental radon mitigation is much faster and more reliable than either type of home test.
If radon gas is found in my home should I look into radon mitigation?
If your home contains more radon gas than is safe, you should have specialists from SWAT Environmental begin radon mitigation as soon as possible. The most effective radon mitigation method is the installation of specialized equipment to improve ventilation in your house, especially in its lower levels. To completely protect your family, other techniques may be necessary as well; SWAT Environmental’s experts will be able to determine the optimal radon mitigation setup for your home.
Test Your Home for Radon During National Radon Action Month
Many people already know that radon is a serious problem, and a real threat to people living in all parts of the country and the world. Now the Environmental Protection Agency is helping those homeowners take action and get their homes tested for this dangerous radioactive gas.
The Environmental Protection Agency has designated January National Radon Action Month, and they urge all homeowners to have their homes tested for radon during that important time period. If you have not yet had your home tested, now is the perfect time to act, since many radon mitigation and testing companies will be offering special discounts and other promotions during National Radon Action Month.
Radon is a dangerous substance, and the bad news is that it is present just about everywhere in the environment. Radon gas can seep into your home through even the tiniest of cracks, including small holes in the basement walls or the foundation of the house. Once inside, radon can seriously damage your health and the health of your family.
A known carcinogen, radon is recognized as the second leading cause of lung cancer among smokers and the number one cause for non-smokers as well. If you have not yet had your home tested for radon gas, January is the perfect time to rectify that situation and put your mind at ease.
Now is the Perfect Time to Test Your Home for Radon
SWAT will be celebrating National Radon Action Month by offering homeowners a series of special discounts and promotions designed to encourage homeowners to act. As the largest radon mitigator in the country, SWAT has the experience and the expertise necessary to deal with radon problems no matter where they are coming from.
SWAT has access to a larger number of certified radon technicians than any other company, and that national footprint gives us the ability to fix radon problems fast and make homes safe and secure. So take advantage of National Radon Action Month and call SWAT today.
Is Your Home Radon Free?
No matter what part of the country you call home, your home or business is at risk from high radon levels and vapor intrusion. Both of these problems exist throughout the land, and it is important to deal with those issues as soon as possible.
Radon exposure and vapor intrusion are so dangerous because they are so difficult to detect. Your home could have high levels of radon and desperately need radon mitigation and you would never even know it. That is because radon gas is colorless, odorless and completely invisible to the naked eye. Until you have your home or business tested by a radon mitigation specialist you will never know whether or not dangerous levels of this radioactive gas are present or not.
The same is true of vapor intrusion, and this is a growing problem throughout the entire country. If you have never had your home, business or commercial building tested for vapor intrusion, the time to do so is now. Vapor intrusion can be a real problem, especially for commercial buildings and businesses where high levels of dangerous gases can build up without you even knowing it. If you fail to have your business tested for vapor intrusion, you are putting yourself, your employees and your very livelihood at risk.
And if you have not yet had your home tested for radon contamination, the time to contact a qualified radon mitigation company is right now. One of the biggest dangers with radon is that its effects are cumulative. If you fail to have the necessary radon mitigation done in your home, the risk can continue to increase year after year, putting yourself and your family at risk.
Radon Can Hurt Your Property Value
High levels of radon can also play havoc with your property values, even if your family escapes the health dangers. Having the radon mitigation you need done as soon as possible can protect your property values and help you escape any future damage.
If you suspect that your home or business has high levels of radon or vapor intrusion, the time to call a radon mitigation expert is now. The problem with radon and vapor intrusion is that you cannot simply call any old contractor. Radon contamination and vapor intrusion are specialized problems, and they require specialized solutions as well.
Leave Radon Mitigation for the Experts
A radon mitigation specialist will have the training and the expertise necessary to find the source of the vapor intrusion or radon problem quickly That radon mitigation expert will also have the equipment necessary to find out exactly where that radioactive gas is coming from. Once the radon mitigation specialist you hire has found the source of the problem, they will be able to repair any damage and stop any new vapor intrusion from taking place.
If you have not yet had your home or business tested for radon gas or vapor intrusion, you need to contact a radon mitigation company as soon as possible. You owe it to your family, your employees and yourself to have your property radon tested right away.
Silent Killer: Radon
Many people do not realize that it is possible to die of lung cancer without ever having picked up a cigarette. While it is true that the majority of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking, the second leading cause of lung cancer is something you may not even realize you are being exposed to. This silent killer could be in your home right now, and until you have a radon assessment done, you and your family could be in danger without radon remediation.
Colorless, Odorless Gas
Radon is a colorless and odorless gas, and it is present just about everywhere. That is what makes radon so dangerous, and what makes radon remediation and abatement so important. Having a radon test is certainly important, and it is always a smart idea to start by testing your home and your surroundings for this dangerous gas. But simply testing your home for radon is not enough. When the results of that test come back, you need to have a radon remediation and abatement plan in place. Only then can you breathe easy, knowing that you are taking the necessary steps to protect your family and prevent any future health problems.
One of the challenges of radon remediation is that this colorless and odorless gas can seep into your home from so many different places. Cracks in the bedrock underneath your home can lead to a radon problem, and any mitigation measures will have to address the ultimate source of the radon confirmation. Radon can also seep in to your home through the water table, and that poses a whole different remediation and mitigation problem. Radon can even get into your home through the fixtures in your plumbing. That type of radon contamination poses yet another issue for the company doing the radon remediation work.
Radon in Soil
Radon is also present in the soil in many parts of the country, so it is important that any radon remediation and mitigation company you hire have the resources necessary to thoroughly test not just the interior of your home but your landscape as well. Mitigation and remediation of the radon inside your home is certainly important, but it can be just as important to remove the radon from your environment.
One way radon mitigation companies keep radon out of your home is by setting up a barrier system to prevent the radon in the soil, groundwater and water table from getting into your home. There are all sorts of radon barrier systems on the market today, and it is important to evaluate each system, and each company, carefully. Not all radon mitigation and abatement services are the same, and it is important to look at the track record of each one before inviting that firm into your home.
When you ask a radon remediation and abatement service for an assessment of your risk, you can expect that company to spend some time examining both the interior and the exterior of your home. Radon is often more concentrated in the basement of the home, since that is the part of the home closest to the major sources of radon. Testing the radon levels in the basement can give you a good idea of your level of risk, and help you develop a radon remediation and abatement program that fits your needs and your budget. The health of your family is so important, and protecting your loved ones from harm means examining the radon levels in your home and taking the necessary mitigation and remediation steps to reduce their risk as much as possible.
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.