Radon is a chemical element with the symbol Rn and atomic number 86. It is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, and tasteless noble gas.
Radon is also a health hazard because of its radioactivity.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classes radon as a carcinogen, meaning that radon poisoning can lead to cancer. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause in smokers according to Health authorities. Radon exposure kills 21,000 Americans every year.
One of every five homes tested in a 10-state survey last winter was found to contain health-threatening levels of radon. The survey was conducted in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Wyoming by the respective state governments in cooperation with the Federal agency. Twenty-one percent of the homes tested were found to have levels of radon considered to pose a threat to health under E.P.A. guidelines. This seems to be a problem here in our area.
Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon is most often found in indoor environments such as homes, schools, and workplaces. The EPA recommends that all houses be tested for radon levels.
Don’t panic if your home has high levels of radon exposure. There are proven techniques for reducing radon levels, so that exposure can be brought into the acceptable range. The best technique is having a radon system installed. A typical radon mitigation system consists of a large-diameter plastic pipe that connects the air beneath your foundation to the outdoors. An in-line fan sucks radon-rich air from beneath your foundation and expels this hazardous air to the exterior. Instead of entering your basement or other living space area through numerous gaps and cracks in the foundation, radon gas is extracted from beneath your foundation before it can permeate into interior space.
We urge everyone to test the radon levels in their home and if there is high exposure to have a mitigation system installed by a professional immediately. Health experts often refer to radon as the silent killer, and for good reason. Since it is impossible to smell, you will never know if you are being exposed until you perform a radon test… or get diagnosed with lung cancer. There is no reason to become one of the 21,000 killed by radon exposure.
Jennifer Pierce & Mikaela Lopez
Frontier Basement Systems.