RADON Information

The following information is re-printed from informational brochures provided by AccuStar ,  Professional Radon Laboratory Services Since 1984
 
Radon and You
Information to Protect You and Your Family from Radon
 
Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas.
 
You can't see it, smell it, or taste it, but radon is estimated to cause well over 20,000 deaths each year (more deaths than from melanoma or drunk driving).
 
Why? Because when you breathe in radon gas over a period of time, you can get lung cancer. The more radon you are exposed to, and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk of eventually developing ling cancer.
 
The U.S. Surgeon General, American Lung Association, World Health Organization, and many others have warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer today. It is 5 to 6 times more dangerous to your lungs than secondhand smoke. If you smoke and your home has elevated radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.
 
The U.S. EPA estimates that nearly 1 out of every 15 homes has elevated radon levels.
Radon problems may be more common in some geographic areas, but any home can have high radon. Schools, day care facilities, and work-places can also have a radon problem. Ask whether they have been tested.
 
Radon can be found everywhere and in any home - new or old, well sealed or drafty, with or without a basement.
Radon gas comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and gets into the air you breathe, It can enter any type of building, including homes, offices, and schools.
But you and your family are most likely to receive your greatest exposure at home, where you spend most of you time.
 
How does radon get into your home?
Radon gas typically moves up through the ground and into you home through cracks in the floors or walls, joints, gaps around pipes and other holes or cavities in the walls or foundation, Radon can enter the home even when no visible cracks exist. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build-up. Radon also can enter the home through the well water. In some rare cases, building materials may be a source of radon gas.
 

 

After the test: What does it mean?

 

Radon in Air: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations:
* Fix your home if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (picoCuries per Liter) or higher.
*Consider fixing your home when radon levels are between 2pCi/L and 4pCi/L (because there is no known safe level of radon).
In addition, due to normal fluctuations in radon levels, you should retest your home every 2 years.
 
Radon in Well Water: Recommendations vary from state-to-state for radon in water, with many states providing no recommended action level. However, EPA has developed a proposed regulation to reduce radon in drinking water. As a result of that regulation, the action level for radon in private well water will likely be 4,000 pCi/L.
 
Fixing a Radon Problem
Reducing radon levels can be easy and relatively inexpensive. The first step is to hire a certified radon contractor (mitigator). Be sure you or a testing professional retest the radon level after a radon mitigation system is installed.
 
Radon in Air: For most homes, the mitigator will perform a diagnostic evaluation, seal cracks, and install an active soil depressurization (ASD) system. An ASD system changes air pressure beneath your home and then, through the use of a radon fan, draws out the radon gas and safely vents it above the roofline.
 
Radon in Well Water: The two most commonly used types of water-borne radon reduction systems are aeration and granular activated carbon (GAC). The radon level is a primary factor in choosing between these systems.*
 
*The EPA, for example, does not recommend GAC for radon levels above 5,000 pCi/L.
 
 
Arrow Home Inspection Service, LLC, can provide you with Radon Testing for your new home and / or your existing home.
 

 

Radon in Homes

Radon is an invisible, odorless gas that is a natural radioactive decay product of uranium, a common element in soil and rocks. Radon gas is considered harmless when dispersed in outdoor air but can be a serious health hazard when trapped in buildings.
 
Radon gas can seep into a home from the soil through dirt crawlspaces, cracks in the foundation and walls, floor drains, pipes and sump pumps. Radon can enter any home, old or new, even those with no visible cracks. Each building is unique, and the ground beneath it is also unique. Two houses side-by-side can have totally different radon levels. The only way to know what the radon levels are inside your home is to measure them.
 
Radon also can enter a home through the well water. If your water contains high levels of radon, the radon gas escapes into the household air when the water is running. The EPA says, “The radon in your water supply poses an inhalation risk and an ingestion risk. Research has shown that your risk of lung cancer from breathing radon in air is much larger than your risk of stomach cancer from swallowing water with radon in it.”
 
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From the

ACS News Center

Radon Risk for Lung Cancer Back in the Spotlight

Second Leading Cause of Lung Cancer in US

 
Article date: 2005/02/09 [www.cancer.org]
 
A recent study in BMJ (Vol. 330, No. 7485: 223-228) serves as a potent reminder that smoking isn't the only factor doctors and patients should consider when discussing lung cancer risk. European researchers report that exposure to radon gas in the home accounts for about 9% of lung cancer deaths and about 2% of overall cancer deaths in Europe.
 
The findings are based on an analysis of 13 studies of residential radon and lung cancer involving 7,148 lung cancer patients and 14,208 people without lung cancer. The authors, led by Sarah Darby, PhD, of Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, UK, assessed lung cancer risk based on measurements of household radon and personal characteristics such as smoking history, age, sex, and area of residence.
 
Radon Seeps Into Homes From the Ground
 
Radon is an odorless, colorless, flavorless radioactive gas that arises naturally from the breakdown of uranium in the earth. Because it filters up from soil, it is found throughout the environment. Outdoors, radon amounts are so small they pose virtually no risk; indoors, however, the gas can become concentrated. Over time, breathing radon exposes the lungs to radiation that can boost the risk of lung cancer. Darby and colleagues calculated that lung cancer risk increases by 8.4% for every 100 becquerels per cubic meter (Bq/m3) of radon indoors. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends taking action to lower indoor radon when the gas reaches concentrations of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), which is equivalent to 148 Bq/m3.
 
"These results are consistent with those of earlier studies, including one from the United States," said Elizabeth Ward, PhD, director of surveillance research for the American Cancer Society. "But this study has larger numbers of people resulting in greater statistical power and better ability to separate the results of radon exposure from the results of smoking."
 
The European group found that radon raised risk by about the same amount in smokers and nonsmokers. However, because smokers are already at higher risk for lung cancer, the double-whammy of smoking and radon makes radon a bigger threat for smokers.
 
Get Home Checked, Surgeon General Urges
 
The risks of radon have been known for decades and were based primarily on studies of miners exposed to extremely high levels of the gas while working underground. Calculating the potential risks to the general public is more difficult because radon exposure is highly variable depending on where people live and what type of residence they occupy -- radon levels vary according to soil type and concentrations tend to be greater in lower levels of a home, such as the basement.
 
The EPA has recommended radon testing in homes for years, and in January 2005 the US Surgeon General issued a national health advisory on the subject. The advisory said radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US (smoking is first) and causes more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the country each year. Venting systems can be installed in homes to lower indoor radon levels and reduce the risk.
 
"It would be good for doctors to talk to their patients about the risks of radon," Ward said, "particularly in those parts of the country where the potential for radon exposure in homes is high." The EPA estimates that 1 in 15 US homes have excessive levels of radon. The agency provides a county-by-county map of estimated radon levels on its Web site. Consumer information describing the risks of radon, how you can fix your home to lower the risk, and ways to find qualified contractors to perform the work are also available.