Radon is a radioactive colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas released from the normal decay of the elements thorium, radium, and uranium in rocks and soil. It is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that seeps up through the ground and diffuses into the air. Radon gas usually exists at very low levels outdoors. However, in areas without adequate ventilation, such as underground mines, radon can accumulate to levels that substantially increase the risk of lung cancer. Radon-222 decays into radioactive elements, two of which – polonium-218 and polonium-214 emit alpha particles, which are highly effective in damaging lung tissues.
These alpha-emitting radon decay products have been responsible for many cases of lung cancer in the United States and around the world.
Radon is estimated to cause approximately 21,000 of lung cancer deaths each year. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Air pressure inside your home is usually lower than pressure in the soil around your home’s foundation. Because of this difference in pressure, your home acts like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 4 Pc/L of radon as a cutoff point between acceptable and not acceptable level of radon. If your house has more than 4 Pc/L of radon in the air, you and your family continuously being bombarded by alpha particles. If you live in that property for a long time you increasing your chances to acquire lung cancer. I would strongly recommend installing radon removal system in your house if the level of radon is measured around and above 4 Pc/L.
Based on EPA statistics, Radon is found in all of the 50 states. About 1 out of 15 homes in the US has high radon levels.
The largest misconception about Radon is that only old houses have high concentration of Radon.
In many instances newly build houses have higher concentration of radon than older dwellings.
The geology of the soil where house is built plays an important role in determining the concentration level of Radon gas. Radon is a gas that moves through the ground towards lowest resistance. If you have two houses side by side, one might have high concentration of radon and the other might not. The house that has higher concentration of radon might have cracks in foundation, sump pump gaps where radon can easily escape into the basement. Based on Environmental Protection Agency research 1 in every 15 households in the United States has higher concentration of radon, that is equal or more than 4 pC/Liter.
The average concentration of radon in the United States home is 1.3 pC/L
Answer: 0.4 pC/L
Answer: Equal or higher than 4 pC/L
Answer: Winter, because the difference of temperatures inside vs. outside is higher in winter vs. summer season.
FACT: Although some scientists dispute the precise number of deaths due to radon, all the major health organizations (like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Lung Association and the American Medical Association) agree with estimates that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths every year. This is especially true among smokers, since the risk to smokers is much greater than to non-smokers.
FACT: Radon testing is easy. You can test your home yourself or hire a qualified radon test company. Either approach takes only a small amount of time and effort.
FACT: There are simple solutions to radon problems in homes. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners have already fixed radon problems in their homes. Most homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs.
FACT: House construction can affect radon levels. However, radon can be a problem in homes of all types: old homes, new homes, drafty homes, insulated homes, homes with basements, homes without basements. Local geology, construction materials, and how the home was built are among the factors that can affect radon levels in homes.
FACT: High radon levels have been found in every state. Radon problems do vary from area to area, but the only way to know your radon level is to test.
FACT: It’s not. Radon levels can vary greatly from home to home. The only way to know if your home has a radon problem is to test it.
FACT: Where radon problems have been fixed, home sales have not been blocked or frustrated. The added protection is sometimes a good selling point.
FACT: You will reduce your risk of lung cancer when you reduce radon levels, even if you’ve lived with a radon problem for a long time.
FACT:A short-term test, followed by a second short-term test* can be used to decide whether to fix your home. However, the closer the average of your two short-term tests is to 4 pCi/L, the less certain you can be about whether your year-round average is above or below that level. Keep in mind that radon levels below 4 pCi/L still pose some risk. Radon levels can be reduced in most homes to 2 pCi/L or below.
2003 Assessment of Risk from Radon in Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003). The number of deaths from other causes are taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2005-2006 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Report and 2006 National Safety Council Reports.
There are few methods we use to permanently reduce the level of radon in your house.
These methods are part of Active Soil Depressurization, also known as ASD
ASD reduces radon entry by mechanically creating suction beneath the foundation, which is stronger than the vacuum applied to the soil by the building.
SSD is the most common and efficient method of radon mitigation systems. The purpose of sub – slab depressurization method is to lower air pressure under concrete floor slab relative to the indoor pressure. We would use one or more fans based on the scope of the project to have radon removed from underneath of the slab. In addition, we will seal floor and wall cracks. If you have sump pump we will seal sump pit with a removable cover. This process will remove radon gas out and away from your property and release it into outdoor air above the property.
A hole is drilled into your basement or floor slab and 4” PVC pipe is inserted and sealed to the floor. The pipe is routed to the attic or outside where a radon vent fan is connected and vented above the roof.
Sub-Membrane Depressurizaton (SMD) sub membrane depressurization systems are installed at buildings with earthen or gravel crawl spaces or floors instead of slab. With this system, and impermeable membrane (such as plastic sheeting) is placed over the earthen or gravel area and the ventilation piping is installed through the membrane.