Should you be concerned about Radon?
The products of nuclear decay, which are electrically charged, cause the main danger to human health. They attach themselves to the dust present in the air, which you might inhale. Breathing these particles causes a deposit in the lung tissues, in particular in the bronchial tree.
The health risks of Radon include lung cancer even in non-smokers. There are around 21,000 deaths each year in the United States attributed to Radon. The risk of developing lung cancer increases for smokers as well.
Its foremost feature is the radioactivity. Being a gas, it can move easily between the interstices of the ground, rise to the surface, and enter inside any house. Here, it can reach high concentrations and become very dangerous for the inhabitants.
Radon testing and Radon effects
Radon gas has no smell or color, so a Radon test is necessary to detect it. This chemical element accumulates in buildings when it comes out from the subsoil but also from the building materials used to make the building itself. Thus, it would be appropriate that all the houses were tested for Radon, especially if you buy, sells, or builds a house.
The good news is that Radon gas can be easily detected and monitored using two different test methods. The most commonly used method is passive radon monitoring. Passive monitoring devices, or dosimeters, are placed in an area of a structure for a certain period and then sealed. After the detection period has expired, you send them to a laboratory for analysis and conclusive results.
Although there are no visible symptoms of Radon in your home, you might want to check for the health of previous tenants or deteriorating quality of life, such as:
Using a Radon Exposimeter/Dosimeter to create a Radon map
The test can be carried out by a professional, or by the owner or tenant himself using a DIY Radon test kit. However, the professional service or kit used for the test must be approved by a third party, which in the United States is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Radon levels can vary from day to day and from season to season. Hence, it is worth taking short and long term tests. Short-term tests give results quickly and need another short-term test that confirms the findings. Long-term tests provide better information on annual average levels.
Short-term tests are the fastest way to passively monitor Radon in a residential or commercial facility. In a short-term test, you position the sample in the test area for two to max ninety days before sending it to the laboratory for analysis. Then, the laboratory sends the test results to the owner of the kit. Long-term tests compensate for possible short-term fluctuations in Radon.
Using a more active method for Radon testing
The other method of detecting Radon gas uses active monitoring devices to detect gas. Active detectors require a power source and provide a continuous and instantaneous reading of Radon levels at any given time. Some units can calculate short and long term Radon levels. Generally, active Radon detectors are more expensive than passive monitors.
The use of electronic detectors for Radon at home is a valid alternative. Given the cost of the device, professionals are more likely to use them. Hiring a professional could be a more affordable option, as well. Electronic radon detectors are placed face-up on a stable table or any flat surface so that the ventilation openings on the device are not blocked. The reading is easily visible thanks to a digital display. Also, a Radon fan can be used if it is determined that Radon is present.
Symptoms of Radon in Your Home
Radon has multiple points of entrance inside our buildings. Radon experts can do regular check and apply Radon mitigation techniques for various environmental factors such as:
- The degree of fracture of the rocks
- The permeability of the soil
- The changes in temperature and air pressure between the inside and outside of the buildings
Once professionals have ascertained the presence of Radon, they can reduce the dangerousness with the support of a technician. He or she decides the more appropriate mitigation strategy to solve the problem.