Since radon cannot be seen or smelled, it can be difficult to detect in dwellings. Only radon testing, which most households do not routinely, will reveal whether you are exposed to radon. So where in a home might you locate radon gas?
Radon gas is primarily found in crawl spaces and basements. Due to the foundation’s fractures and gaps, these locations are vulnerable to radon intrusion.
Radon can still infiltrate your home through additional cracks and crevices. This article will also discuss how to check the radon levels in your house.
Radon: What Is It?
You cannot see radon, an odorless radioactive gas. Radon is mostly produced by the radioactive decay of uranium. Water can contain radon in addition to soil and rock.
In well-ventilated outdoor areas, radon dispersion is frequently undetectable and safe. Radon levels in the open air may range from 5 to 15 Bq/m3.
The least ventilated areas—mines, caves, and water treatment facilities—have the highest radon concentrations. Additionally, radon is almost certainly prevalent in crawl spaces and basements of houses.
It is possible for radon levels in buildings, such as homes, schools, and workplaces, to range from 10 Bq/m3 to 10,000 Bq/m3.
Since radon is a radioactive gas that is present everywhere and can be dangerous to one’s health, people should be fully informed about it.
Can You Tell If You Are Radon Exposed?
Sadly, there are no medical tests available right now to determine your radon exposure. However, if you are worried, talk to your doctor about the possibilities of routine health checks and lung cancer screening.
To aid in compensating workers who were exposed to radon at work, the US government established the Radiation Exposure Compensation Program. These people work as millers, transporters, and miners of uranium. Those who meet the requirements and have lung cancer or other lung-related conditions are eligible for compensation.
What Are Radon’s Health Effects?
Due to the characteristics of radon, persons who reside in or work in various buildings may unknowingly be exposed to dangerously high radon levels. You might not be aware of it, but radon can cause lung cancer.
Even more radioactive particles are released into the atmosphere when radon decays. Inhaling these particles causes them to collect on the cells that line your airways, which can lead to DNA damage and, in the worst case scenario, lung cancer.
According to the National Library of Medicine, radon exposure is thought to be a contributing factor in anywhere between 3% and 14% of lung cancer occurrences, depending on the average radon level and the prevalence of smoking in a given nation.
The risk of lung cancer in uranium miners was initially associated with extremely high levels of radon exposure. Studies have also shown that radon, even in little concentrations, can be unhealthy in the home and contribute to the rise in lung cancer rates worldwide.
Additionally, you should be aware that while radon endangers both smokers and non-smokers, it increases the risk of lung cancer in the former.
Take note of the following potential symptoms and signs:
- stiffness or pain in the chest
- breathing or swallowing challenges
- unwell throat
- increasing cough
What Elements Influence The Radon Level In A Building?
Since most individuals spend their time at home, that is also where they are most likely to be exposed to radon. Indoor enterprises, however, can also serve as a source of exposure. The following elements can have an impact on the level of radon in houses and other structures:
- The speed at which air exits space and moves outside. It depends on elements like the building’s structure, its occupants’ ventilation habits, and how airtight the structure is.
- Possible points where radon gas from the earth could enter the building
- The radon concentration is also impacted by the local geology. It contains uranium content and soil permeability.
- The airborne radon emissions from building materials
- The entire structure has nooks and crannies.
- Holes or gaps near pipes or wires, or in the foundation
- Water particularly from deep wells
Because of their proximity to the ground, your crawl spaces and basements are particularly vulnerable to radon development. Your home has several tiny gaps, crevices, and cracks that make it considerably simpler for radon to get in.
Despite this, substantial radon concentrations can still be found above the basement.
How To Perform Radon Tests
Testing is the only technique to determine your exposure to radon gas because it has no smell and is invisible. A Citizen’s Guide to Radon, published by the Environmental Protection Agency, explains how to test your home for radon inexpensively and what to do if the levels are dangerously high.
There are two methods for radon testing. You can either hire a radon professional to assist you or get a radon test kit to conduct the test yourself.
If you opt for the first option, it is recommended to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations on the product label for how long you should leave the kit at home for in a given period of time. Send it to a lab after that, and wait for the results.
How Frequently Should Radon Tests Be Done?
Within a single building, radon levels vary significantly from one structure to the next and from hour to hour. These fluctuations emphasize the significance of monitoring radon for at least 90 days if you want a precise estimate of the radon levels in your house on an annual average.
To ensure acceptable levels, the EPA advises conducting radon testing every two years in their book A Citizen’s Guide To Radon. You may quickly, easily, and affordably determine the radon levels in a home by using basic passive detectors or the radon test kit we previously discussed.
The measures must be based on national norms in order to ensure consistency and dependability for decision-making. Radon tests that adhere to all national requirements are particularly helpful when speed is of the essence, such as when evaluating the effectiveness of radon mitigation devices.
After The Radon Test Results, What Should You Do?
It would be wise to take action for whatever the results are after sending the radon testing kit to a lab for the results. Please take note of these:
At Least Four PCi/L
If your home detects four pCi/L or more, the Environmental Protection Agency advises installing a radon mitigation system.
One illustration is having a sub-slab suction radon mitigation system installed by an expert. It is the most common radon reduction method, requiring the installation of a pipe and fan to draw radon from your home’s foundation and release it outside.
Less Than Four PCi/L
You should do another radon test every two years if the findings indicate that your home has a radon level under four pCi/L. Consider testing more frequently or sooner if you make structural changes to your property or move into a previously empty level.
Additionally, have in mind that once it exceeds two pCi/L, you can right once install a radon mitigation system. Since there is no set level of radon that is regarded as safe, this is what the majority of households choose to do.
How Can Radon Levels In Buildings Be Reduced?
It would be best to be aware of how to lower radon levels or concentrations if you intend to live there or construct buildings there. It’s a good thing that preventative measures are included in US building codes, and they are as follows:
- Get a radon mitigation system installed.
- Increase the subfloor’s ventilation.
- To stop radon gas from leaking from the basement into the rest of the house, keep the basement door closed.
- It’s crucial to improve the ventilation system as well as seal the floors and walls.
- Covering the floor with plastic is a typical technique in houses with crawl spaces.
- Testing of substrates and household appliances
Please keep in mind that if you wish to dramatically lower radon concentrations in your house or any other structure, installing a radon mitigation system is a need.
You need to be aware of everything that affects you and your home as a homeowner. The radon levels in your home should constantly be taken into account and checked, so keep that in mind. It is essential because, if neglected, it could negatively impact the health of you and your family. Given that radon levels in certain areas are likely to be high, it is best to keep a watch on them.