What is Radon?
Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas. You cannot see, smell or taste radon, but it may be a problem in your home. Radon is the Number One cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Radon testing can help prevent future health concerns for you and your family.
How is Radon measured?
The amount of radon in the air is measured in “picocuries per liter of air,” or “pCi/L.
The average indoor radon level is 1.3 pCi/L.
The average outdoor radon level is 0.4 pCi/L.
Radon Entry into a House
The air pressure in a house is generally lower than in the surrounding air and soil, particularly at the basement and foundation levels. This difference in pressure causes a house to act like a vacuum, drawing in air containing radon, as well as other soil-gases, through cracks in the foundation and other openings. Some of the replacement air comes from the underlying soil and can also contain radon.
Radon enters through:
A.Cracks in concrete slabs
B.Spaces behind brick veneer walls that rest on uncapped hollow-block foundations
C.Pores and cracks in concrete blocks
E.Exposed soil, as in a sump or crawl space
F.Weeping (drain) tile, if drained to an open sump
H.Loose fitting pipe penetrations
I.Open tops of block walls
J.Building materials: brick, concrete, rock
K.Well water (not commonly a major source in Minnesota homes)
Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels.
What is a safe and acceptable level of radon gas?
This is actually two separate questions. The first is: “What is a safe level of radon gas?” The second is: “What is an acceptable level of radon gas?”
A safe level of radon gas is no radon gas. The US EPA has put it plainly, stating, “Any radon exposure has some risk of causing lung cancer. The lower the radon level in your home, the lower your family’s risk of lung cancer.”
The US EPA has set an acceptable level of below 4 pCi/L. At or above this level of radon, the EPA recommends you take corrective measures to reduce your exposure to radon gas.
A family whose home has radon levels of 4 pCi/l is exposed to approximately 35 times as much radiation as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would allow if that family was standing next to the fence of a radioactive waste site.
The following graphic compares EPA estimates of the annual radon-related lung cancer deaths to other selected cancers.
Should you test for radon?
Radon testing is easy. Hire Integri-Spec Inspections to perform a professional quality test.
Testing is the only way to know your home’s radon levels. There are no immediate symptoms that will alert you to the presence of radon. It typically takes years of exposure before any problems surface.
For More Information check out the MN Department of Health Website.