According to the American Lung Association and The World Health Organization, Radon Gas has been identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer. Obviously, smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. The information is released in conjunction with studies that suggest approximately 20,000 deaths each year in The United States are caused by exposure to radon gas.
Radon is a gas that is formed naturally when uranium in rock, soil and groundwater breaks down. The Radon gas then finds its way up to the surface. Unlike other forms of pollution or dangerous gasses, you can neither see nor smell Radon. With an estimated 8 million U.S. homes affected, The Surgeon General of the United States is recommending that all homes be tested for this invisible killer. Since radon problems are not exclusive to U.S. soils, many other countries throughout the world have taken action to reduce indoor radon levels.
Most of the time, Radon harmlessly dissipates into the atmosphere outdoors and causes no problems. However, it does become a problem when it finds its way into your house. How can that happen?
The Radon gas in the soil under your home collects in the void and air spaces under the foundation slab and gradually enters the home. It can also enter through cracks in foundations or even through showers and drainage sumps. Most new homes have much better insulation than in the past, of so the Radon gas becomes trapped indoors. So in this case the better insulation and sealing actually works against you. What can be done to fix a home with a radon problem?
There are two basic ways to handle the problem. One of them is to install pipes that suck the Radon gas away from the spaces beneath the foundation and harmlessly expel it to the outside above the roof via an electric fan connected to exterior pipes. Another is to run the pipes inside the house or the garage so that the Radon is expelled outside above the roof. In this case, the electric fan is located in the attic so the components of the system cannot be seen from the outside of the home. Both of these methods are referred to as radon reduction or “mitigation” systems. According to Jamey Gelina, a radon specialist with Air Quality Control, “Radon gas can be reduced to safe levels in practically any home when the proper mitigation techniques are applied.”
How do homeowners know whether or not their house has a Radon problem? That’s where Radon testing comes in. Radon problems have been identified all over the United States, so all indoor environments should be tested. Testing is fairly simple and can be done by qualified testing services that install a detection device and then examine the results after a few days. This will reliably determine if the Radon levels in a home are high enough to require a Radon mitigation system.
About one in every 15 homes in the US has excessive Radon levels, and in many cases, the problem is identified when a home is sold. In worst case scenarios, the problem is identified after an occupant develops lung cancer.
If testing reveals elevated Radon levels, a radon mitigation system should be installed. A Radon Mitigation System installed by a qualified contractor typically costs around $1,000, so it won’t kill you. However, not installing the system could! There are many qualified mitigation system installers with certified and licensed technicians, so pick someone who’s been in the business for a while to remove this potentially deadly threat from your home.
To learn more about radon gas and recent studies, please visit these informative links:
Radon Mitigation Information: http://www.mitigationsystem.com/
Radon Testing Information: http://www.radontesting.org/
General Radon Gas Information: http://www.radonmitigation.us/