The public scare about radon poisoning has long since passed, but the risks are as high as ever. Many young homeowners may not know about the risks caused by radon or how they can protect themselves. Having some basic knowledge of radon testing for it is all you need to keep you and your family healthy.
First, let’s clarify what radon is. Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that is produced when uranium decays. While radon may come from building materials, you’re most likely to encounter it naturally from soil or rocks. Some areas of the country, such as Colorado, may have particularly high concentrations of radon. With that said, radon concentrations are local and vary depending on soil composition and atmospheric conditions. For that reason, you should always be aware of radon in your home, even if you live in an area with low radon levels.
Nearly all soils contain some radon, and traces of it are evident in the air we breathe every day. The problem arises when large amounts of radon get trapped in your home, usually by seeping in through cracks in the walls or pores in concrete. The gas eventually produces a radioactive dust, which can damage the insides of the lungs and cause cancer. The higher your exposure to radon, the more likely you are to be susceptible to lung cancer. If you are also a smoker, exposure to radon will exacerbate the damage that has been caused to your lungs.
To determine potential risk, homeowners should look into radon testing. Homeowners should always start with an air radon test, and if you have a personal well, look into a water test as well. If the results indicate 4 pCi/L or higher, you should look into a radon mitigation and abatement service. In fact, a household with this level of radon is exposed to 35 times more radiation than they would be if they were within yards of a nuclear waste site.
Many homeowners who believe they have been exposed to radon avoid radon testing because they believe “it’s too late to make a difference.” In fact, they may be surprised by the results. Radon concentration is so localized and depends so much on your home’s construction that your radon test results may vary drastically from your next door neighbor’s. In addition, your local radon mitigation company can suggest methods that are effective, cost-efficient, and that can significantly reduce your risk for radon poisoning. There are several methods available to protect you from radon, but you’ll only be able to take action when you know what risk is posed.