Radon exposure can cause serious health risks, including lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Testing for radon is essential for detecting its presence in homes and buildings. Several methods can be used to mitigate radon exposure, including installing a radon mitigation system.
This blog article highlights the dangers of radon, a radioactive gas that can seep into homes and buildings through cracks in the foundation, walls, and floors. Radon exposure is a known carcinogen and can lead to lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. The article discusses the sources of radon, testing methods, and mitigation measures. It also explains how employers and homebuyers can take steps to ensure that employees and residents are not exposed to hazardous levels of radon. By raising awareness about the health risks of radon and promoting preventive measures, this article provides essential information that can help protect individuals and families from this dangerous gas.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless radioactive gas in the environment and can be hazardous to human health. It is formed through the natural decay of uranium and can seep into homes and buildings through cracks in the foundation, walls, and floors. In this blog article, we will discuss the dangers of radon, how it enters homes and buildings, and what can be done to mitigate its effects.
Health Risks of Radon
Radon is a known carcinogen and is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon causes an estimated 21,000 deaths from lung cancer annually. Radon exposure can also cause respiratory problems such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The risks of radon exposure are higher for smokers and those with a smoking history.
Sources of Radon
Radon is formed through the natural decay of uranium in soil, rock, and water. It can seep into homes and buildings through cracks in the foundation, walls, and floors. Radon can also enter homes through healthy water. Homes built on soil with high levels of uranium are at higher risk for radon exposure. Radon levels can vary depending on the geographic location and the area’s soil type.
Testing for Radon
Testing for radon is essential for detecting its presence in homes and buildings. The EPA recommends testing for radon every two years, especially if changes have been made to the structure of the home or building. Testing kits are available for purchase online and at home improvement stores. Short-term testing kits are designed to measure radon levels for two to seven days. Long-term testing kits are designed to measure radon levels for more than 90 days and provide a more accurate radon exposure assessment.
Mitigating Radon Exposure
There are several methods for mitigating radon exposure in homes and buildings. The most common method is through the installation of a radon mitigation system. A radon mitigation system involves sealing cracks and other openings in the foundation, installing a ventilation system to remove radon from the building, and installing a fan to prevent radon from entering the building. The cost of a radon mitigation system can vary depending on the size of the building, the type of system installed, and the severity of the radon problem.
Radon in the Workplace
Employers are responsible for ensuring employees are not exposed to hazardous radon levels in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established a permissible exposure limit (PEL) for radon of 0.3 working level months (WLM) per year. Employers must monitor radon levels in the workplace and take action to mitigate exposure if levels exceed the PEL.
Radon and Real Estate Transactions
Radon testing is not required by law in real estate transactions but is recommended. Homebuyers can include radon testing as a contingency in the purchase agreement. If radon levels are above the recommended levels, homebuyers can negotiate with the seller to install a radon mitigation system or request a price reduction.
Radon exposure is a severe health hazard that can be prevented through testing and mitigation measures. Homeowners and employers must monitor and mitigate radon levels to prevent exposure and health risks. Radon testing and mitigation systems are available, and their installation can help prevent unnecessary health risks associated with radon exposure.
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2021). A Citizen’s Guide to Radon: The Guide to Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Radon. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2016-12/documents/2016_a_citizens_guide_to_radon.pdf
National Cancer Institute. (2020). Radon and Cancer. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/radon
World Health Organization. (2009). WHO Handbook on Indoor Radon: A Public Health Perspective. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241547673
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2021). Radon. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/radon
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Radon. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/radon/index.html