You may have heard about radon in passing but have never given it much thought. Like carbon dioxide, radon is also odorless, colorless and tasteless, but that’s where the similarities end. Public awareness is very prevalent when it comes to carbon dioxide, while radon testing and monitoring has not been given the attention it deserves.
What is Radon?
As mentioned above, radon has no color, no odor, no taste. You can’t see it, feel it or taste it. It is an inert radioactive gas that is created naturally when radioactive minerals such as uranium and thorium found in most soils and rocks begin to decay. Radon is also found naturally in the atmosphere. This isn’t considered a health hazard as radon dissipates rapidly in outdoor conditions.
Then when does it become harmful?
Radon exposure occurs when the natural matter found under structures breaks down releasing the gas. Radon is still not considered a health hazard at this stage; it is only when the gas enters a home or building through foundation cracks or holes, spaces around plumbing fixtures, or loose HVAC ductwork and becomes trapped indoors that radon exposure can occur.
Can Radon kill me?
In 2005 the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Richard Carmona issued a national health advisory on the dangers of radon. The American Lung Association has determined that indoor radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States with over 20,000 radon related lung cancer deaths each year. And while the majority were people who smoked, almost 3,000 of these deaths involved non-smokers.
My house is brand new. Am I still at risk?
Radon doesn’t discriminate. In fact, you may think you don’t need to worry because your home was constructed on a concrete slab. That doesn’t matter, the soil under the slab will eventually begin to decay and the gas can escape through the holes surrounding the plumbing, electrical and HVAC lines running into the home. There have also been cases of radon exposure due to the primary water source being well water, as well as cases caused by natural building materials used in home construction such as brick, marble and granite. Any building can have radon no matter the age or level of construction competency. Also, it doesn’t matter if a basement or crawlspace.is present. If there is soil, rock or water involved, the chance of radon is always there.
So what can I do?
Testing is the only way to determine if radon is present. If test results indicate a certain level of gas, then steps must be taken to mitigate the exposure level. Both radon testing and mitigation are fairly straightforward procedures, but due to the delicate nature and risk of life-threatening consequences if not properly corrected, this is definitely a job best left to a professional radon specialist.
As 2021 winds down everyone at Closing Contractor would like to take this time to thank all our clients, past and present for your support. We also want to wish everyone Happy Holidays and look forward to serving you in the New Year!