What is radon?
Radon is a dense, radioactive chemical element that exists mainly as a gas, a noble gas with the symbol Rn and atomic number 86. It is invisible, colorless, and odorless. Radon gas often accumulates in low-lying areas, such as basements, and exists in many homes, unknown to 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 thenradium. 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 seeping through cracks in the foundation. Any pathway that air could take is one that radon could also potentially use, even diffusing straight through solid concrete.
What type of environments are likely to contain radon?
In general, underground environments have the greatest probability of containing high concentrations of radon gas. Places such as tunnels and mines are at the greatest risk for 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?
Without testing, 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. Luckily, 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 out to be analyzed. This type of kit is inexpensive and easy to acquire. Long-term radon kits are also available, and the collectors that come with these sit for up to a year. Long-term kits are more expensive, but they are also more accurate.
If radon gas is found in my home should I look into radon mitigation?
If your home contains unsafe levels of radon gas, 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 remediate the gas 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.