You likely know that tobacco smoke and asbestos are no-nos when it comes to your health, but did you know that radon can be just as dangerous?
In fact, radon causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year, the highest number among non-smokers, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. This radioactive gas occurs naturally in the atmosphere in trace amounts. It is inert, colorless, odorless, and usually not a health issue outdoors, as it disperses rapidly.
The problem comes when radon is inside, as the main source of exposure is in homes.
“Radon gas becomes trapped indoors after it enters buildings through cracks and other holes in the foundation,” the EPA says.
These are some common ways radon enters your home, according to Arizona Foundation Solutions:
· Cracks in concrete slabs
· Spaces behind brick veneer walls that rest on uncapped hollow-brick foundation
· Pores and cracks in concrete blocks
· Floor-wall joints
· Exposed soil, as in a sump
· Weeping (drain) tile, if drained to open sump
· Mortar joints
· Loose fitting pipe penetrations
· Open tops of block walls
· Building materials such as some rocks
· Water from some wells
The good news is radon is “an easily reducible health risk,” according to the World Health Organization. In fact, “indoor radon can be controlled and managed with proven, cost-effective techniques,” the EPA says.
Test for radon
To start, you should find out whether your home has radon, which is as easy as 1-2-3:
1. Contact Arizona Foundation Solutions to set up an appointment.
2. A radon gas measurement specialist will place testing kits throughout your house and tell you about the conditions needed for accurate results and what to do at the end of testing.
3. You will receive your test results and, if radon is detected, can consider mitigation.
The EPA recommends you take steps to mitigate radon in your home if the levels are at or above 4 pCi/L. This refers to the number of picocuries per liter of air, which is a measure of radon’s rate of radioactive decay.
“Any radon exposure carries some risk — no level of radon is safe,” the EPA says. “Even radon levels below 4 pCi/L pose some risk, and you can reduce your risk of lung cancer by lowering your radon level.”
Your specialist will tell you when test results come in at a level of 2.8 pCi/L or higher, so you can make an informed decision.
“Depending on your radon test results, you can decide if further action is required in your home,” Arizona Foundation Solutions says.
If you have radon in your home, you can move forward with a mitigation system. This is how it works:
· PVC pipe collects soil gasses.
· Radon is piped upwards in the house.
· A radon depressurization vent forces radon out from your house.
“With input from you, a mitigation system can be designed and installed to effectively bring home radon gas down to a safe level,” Arizona Foundation Solutions says.
Now is the time to test for and mitigate radon, as radon concentrations are up to 10 times higher in the winter. Additionally, low-level radon exposure over time is more harmful than short periods of high-level exposure, so you don’t want to wait.
For more information and to make an appointment, visit FoundationRepairsAZ.com.