Is There a Silent Killer in Your Home?
Keeping your family safe
If you have gas appliances in your home, you are always on the lookout for a leak. You know the terrible things that can happen when too much CO2 fills up your home. But did you know that there is another powerful and deadly chemical that could be floating in the air of your home? This chemical is called Radon.
What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium, it is not a commercially produced product. Sometimes well water is a source of radon, but usually it is found in igneous rock and soil. There is quite a few places radon can be found.
In short, radon is a cancer causing radioactive gas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Surgeon General’s Office have estimated that as many as 20,000 lung cancer deaths are caused each year by radon making it the second highest leading cause of lung cancer! Another frightening fact about radon is that according to the EPA, nearly 1 in 3 homes checked in seven states and on three Indian lands had screening levels over the EPA’s recommended action level for radon exposure. The alpha radiation emitted by radon is the same alpha radiation emitted by other alpha generating radiation sources such as plutonium.
- Water- usually well water
- Furnaces and fireplaces
- Gaps in your flooring
- Spaces around pipes entering the foundation
- Exterior air vents
- Cracks in foundation walls and floors
- Warm air rising indoors
- Wind blowing outdoors
- Open areas inside the walls
- Construction joints- where concrete starts and stops again
What Can You Do for Safety?
Knowing the air quality of your home can give you peace of mind and leave you breathing a little easier. There are no immediate symptoms that will alert you to the presence of radon and it typically takes years of exposure before any problems surface. This makes testing the only way to know your home’s radon levels. Radon is a national environmental health problem and elevated radon levels have been discovered in every state. The EPA estimates that as many as 8 million homes throughout the country have elevated levels of radon and current state surveys show that one five homes have elevated radon levels.
Since it takes years for the effects of radon to start showing up, you could be living in a home with dangerously high levels of radon and never know it. The way we ingest radon is by inhaling or ingesting it. It can be found in building materials, in the ground, or in groundwater and enter into your living space taking a very long time to decay away. Experts say that although it may take some of your time and money, if radon levels in your home are too high it is worth it to get the problem taken care of before it causes serious damage to your family’s health.
If you do find that you have very high levels of radon in your home, don’t worry, everything will be okay! You can have a radon removal system, called soil-suction radon reduction system, installed that will remove the material from underneath your home and have it vented outside. This type of removal can remove up to 99% of radon from your home, according to the EPA. They should always be installed by a certified radon mitigation specialist to ensure that you are completely prevented from allowing radon to seep the the seals of yours home and into the air you breathe. This process should always be followed up by regular re-testing for radon to make sure the issue is fully eliminated.
We know what you’re thinking, “great, another thing that could be slowly killing me!” and we apologize, for ignorance is bliss. But this “radon” thing is actually a big deal. Please protect your family by asking previous owners if there has ever been radon testing done or have your home tested today. Your lungs could thank you for it one day!