Home Safety – Radon Detection

What is radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas released from the normal decay of uranium in rocks and soil. It is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas. Radon Gas seeps up through the ground and spreads in every direction as it enters the atmosphere. Radon can be dissolved in water and released into the atmosphere when the water is used. Fortunately, Radon gas is minimal outdoors. However, in areas without adequate ventilation, such as crawlspaces and basements, radon can accumulate to levels that substantially increase the risk of lung cancer.

How can you be exposed to radon?

Radon is a part of the air you breathe. Low levels of radon in the air that you breathe are normal. If you breathe higher levels of radon you could be at risk of developing lung cancer.

Radon enters your home through cracks in floors, walls, or foundations, and collects indoors. Building materials such as granite or water from wells can increase radon levels in your home. It can also be released from building materials, or from water obtained from wells that contain radon. If your home is well insulated and tightly constructed you could have higher levels of radon. In addition, if your home is built on uranium rich soil you could have higher levels of radon. Radon levels are typically higher in basements and first floors..

How may radon cause you to get cancer?

Radon like uranium decays giving off tiny radioactive particles. Damage to the cells that lines your lungs can occur when tiny radioactive particles are inhaled. If you breathe radon that may be trapped in your home for a long enough time you may develop lung cancer. Thus far, lung cancer is the only form of cancer caused by radon and it maybe the second leading cause of lung cancer in this country.

Will you be one of many people to develop lung cancer because of radon exposure?

We certainly hope not! According to the cancer.gov the most common cause of lung cancer is caused by smoking. Again radon appears to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. It is estimated that 15,000 to 20,000 deaths from lung cancer per year are related to radon according to cancer.gov.

The majority of deaths is related to a combination of both cigarette smoking and radon gas. This number is greater than those that are exposed to just higher levels of radon that don’t smoke. There fore, smoking increases your risk of developing lung cancer when exposed to elevated radon levels.

How did scientists figure out the role radon plays in causing you lung cancer?

It became notable because underground miners died at substantially higher rates than other groups from lung cancer. Further studies seem to confirm that animals that are exposed to radon develop higher rates of tumor growth.

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What was learned about lung cancer and radon gas?

There is a general consensus that radon causes cancer in humans. Recent research of people with lung cancer shows more people are ill from homes that higher levels of radon. It is safely concluded, you are more at risk of getting lung cancer if your home has higher levels of radon.

822 people in Georgia may die of cancer on average each year according to an article in the AJC dated Feb. 26th 2010. The article later stated, “The EPA has drawn a red splash on its Georgia radon map, showing that homes, schools and businesses in the metro area’s four core counties – DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Cobb – are at highest risk for elevated radon levels.”

There have been studies conducted all over the world about people perhaps just like you having higher radon levels in their home and getting lung cancer. There are inconsistencies between studies. Partly due to small sizes of some studies, different levels of radon in homes and determining exposure levels over time.

Studies here in the United States combined with our Canadian neighbors gives our researchers’ better analysis. As a result, thousands of people were analyzed. It was determined to be a slight increase in the risk of getting lung cancer due to exposure to household radon. The studies on underground miners and household radon levels were consistent.

How can you know if your home has elevated level of radon?

You must test your home to determine if it has higher levels of radon. Definitely, test a home for radon before you buy. There are many factors like soil conditions, how radon enters the house and other factors that make each house unique. Just because your neighbor’s home tested fine does not mean your home does not have higher levels of radon. Environmental factors such as precipitation, pressure and other factors can very radon levels from month to month and day to day. There are short term and long term kits available.

We recommend you use a short term kit before buying your next home for a general idea. A long term kit is a better choice in determining your unique risk factor. Short term kits generally run between 2 and 4 days. Long term kits on the other hand runs over 90 days. Contacting a local Home Inspector that test for radon can help you in determining what’s best for your unique situation.

It is recommended by the EPA that any radon levels above 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) action should be taken. Using the EPA estimates, and a formula of the total number of homes by the average number of homes with elevated radon, there are over 12,000 homes in Atlanta alone that has elevated radon. There maybe over 215,000 homes in Georgia that could have elevated radon levels. An estimated 5,000 deaths per year can be eliminated by reducing radon levels in homes that exceed the EPA’s action level of 4.0.

Contact a home inspector today and have your home tested for radon. Radon mitigation can be performed. Radon mitigation maybe costly; averaging around $800.00 to $2,500.00 according to cancer.gov, that’s an average cost of $1,200.00. The cost of dying by cancer is your other alternative.

Accurate Home Inspections provides answers to health and safety. They have articles and videos from sources like the EPA, CDC and more. Protecting your health should be your number one priority. Learn More About Radon From Accurate Home Inspections

Author: Jack Manns
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Be Confident in the Safety of Your Home With the Help of Professional Radon Testing

Instances of radon gas in homes are serious health and safety issues. Professional radon contractors can accurately detect radon levels in your home and, if they find a problem, can implement a radon mitigation solution appropriate to the situation.

Radon is a heavy gas created by the breakdown of uranium and is present in homes throughout the United States. Most of us have heard about radon gas and the danger it poses, but few people take appropriate steps to accurately evaluate or address the issue. This is largely because radon is not visible or tangible-it’s easy to ignore that there might be a problem. Nonetheless, radon is a serious danger, especially in parts of the country designated as “red zones” by the EPA. The only way to truly know if radon is an issue in your home is to employ a professional to thoroughly test the property. If they do find elevated radon levels, these experts will be able to work with you to design a radon mitigation system specifically for your home, dissipating the gas and making your home safe in the long term.

The presence of radon gas in your home should be serious safety concern. Radon usually seeps into buildings through the ground. A low level of radon is harmless, but if the radon gets trapped inside, the level becomes more concentrated and can contribute to the development of lung cancer, as well as cause harm to childrens’ developing lungs. There are a number of DIY radon detection kits on the market, but these products can be difficult to use effectively and are unlikely to provide complete detection service. If you are serious about doing radon testing, you should locate a radon contractor in your area. These professionals have the tools, experience, and expertise to evaluate your entire home with appropriate detection equipment. Not only will they be able to find out if radon is an issue, but they will also be able to accurately tell you in what concentration it is present.

If you find out that your home does contain dangerous levels of radon, your local radon contractors will also be able to safely and effectively address the problem. Each home and each radon occurrence is different, so it is essential that your radon mitigation plan is tailored to your specific situation. With hands-on knowledge and experience at their disposal, radon experts will be able to design a radon abatement program that targets the exact problem present in your home. The primary component of most radon mitigation systems involves locating the entry point for the radon (often at the basement level). The radon contractors then create a seal between the ground and your home and install a pump to vent the radon out into the atmosphere where it can dissipate. Radon experts will be able to perform such services completely and effectively, insuring long-term protection for you and your family.

Nothing is worse than knowing that there is a potential danger in your home, like radon gas, that you can’t see and can’t fix. Call on professional radon contractors to ease this worry. They will be able to perform the necessary radon test to find out if radon levels are dangerous in your house. If there is a problem, they’ll be able to eradicate it and make your home a safe haven once again.

Rebecca Paul is a homeowner and an Internet marketer for Prospect Genius, a leader in online local advertising.

Author: Rebecca Paul
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Radon From Granite Causes Cancer

The allusion that seems to be made, that natural stone installed in your home is dangerous to your health is raised repeatedly on the website and in a recent local Houston TV news program.

It’s interesting to note that the two major contributors of this non-profit organization are manufacturers of engineered stone. One of those contributing manufacturers has a marketing executive on the board of directors of this particular organization.

From what may be perceived on the surface as perhaps another “going green” ad campaign, seems to be a different slant on the ongoing battle of the engineered stone manufacturers against natural stone.

Keep in mind that granite as does most natural components found in building material, allows vapors to pass through them that might contain trace amounts of radon. There are very small amounts of uranium found in trace minerals such as biotite in some natural stones. When quarried if a large cluster of biotite is exposed the result initially would be a radon reading. However, once a piece of granite or natural stone exposed to a large amount of uranium rich mineral in the ground is removed from the source and exposed to the air, the radon vapor transmission would weaken drastically and then dissipate. Simply put, think of natural stone as a very dense sponge that allows water, air and yes radon to pass through the stone. Once the stone is removed from the source of radon (the earth) the stone has no radon to filter through it.

We do endorse Radon testing but to allude that natural stone is a main contributor seems ludicrous.

Here are some facts about Radon:

WHERE DOES RADON COME FROM?

“Radon comes from the natural radioactive decay of radium and uranium found in the soil beneath the house. The amount of radon in the soil depends on complex soil chemistry, which varies from one house to the next. Radon levels in the soil range from a few hundred to several thousands of pCi/L. The amount of radon that escapes from the soil to enter the house depends on the weather, soil porosity, soil moisture, and the suction within the house”.

HOW DOES RADON GET INTO THE HOUSE?

“Houses act like large chimneys. As the air in the house warms, it rises to leak out the attic openings and around the upper floor windows. This creates a small suction at the lowest level of the house, pulling the radon out of the soil and into the house. (Just as natural stone filters radon emission as mentioned before.) You can test this on a cold day by opening a top floor window an inch. You will notice warm air from the house rushing out that opening; yet, if you open a basement window an inch, you will feel the cold outside air rushing in. This suction is what pulls the radon out of the soil and into the house. You might think caulking the cracks and the openings in the basement floor will stop the radon from entering the house. However, scientific studies show, it only takes enough unsealed cracks or pin holes in the caulking to equal a hole 1/2” in diameter to let all the radon in. It is unlikely that caulking the accessible cracks and joints will permanently seal the openings radon needs to enter the house. The radon levels will still likely remain unchanged.

Fortunately, there are other extremely effective means of keeping radon out of your home. Throughout the country, several million people have already tested for radon. Some houses tested as high as 2,000-3,000 pCi/L; yet, there hasn’t been one house that could not mitigate to an acceptable level. The difference in reference to natural stone is that one the stone slab is removed from the source and exposed to the atmosphere the radon is vented in the same way ventilation of a house mitigates the radon emissions in the soil.

Levels of radiation from granite products, which technically are measurable, are in fact, small fractional values of established thresholds for environmental safety. The truth of the matter is that granite is a safe product. It’s been used for thousands of years and the relationship between granite and radon has been studied for years and years. How safe is granite? There have been mathematical models developed that show that one could live in an all-granite home or building, including sleeping on granite, for an entire year and still be within very safe levels of exposure.

Calculations show that, if an average countertop, traps an average uranium concentration of four ppm (parts per million), the concentration of radon that is given off by the countertop into the household air would be 270,000 times less than the level of radon in the outside air. The maximum contact level that you would receive over one year if you were to sit on a countertop all of the time would be about one quarter of the annual radiation from all sources. If you were just a few inches away from the granite (such as when doing the dishes), the dose would be too low to measure.

To Quote Donald Langmuir, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Geochemistry, Colorado School of Mines, & President, Hydrochem Systems Corp.

“To show how laughable are the concerns of radon emitted from natural stone, the typical granite countertop in our example will release 7.4 x 10 -7 pCi/L of air. This corresponds to 2.7 x 10 -8 atom decays per second (dps). This represents 0.85 decays per year. In other words, less than one atom of radon is produced by the countertop in one year. This is hardly worth getting excited about. I would suggest that a good way to reduce our exposure to the radon present in outdoor air would be to build an air-tight house out of granite countertops! There are certain properties of rocks that can increase their radon emanation efficiency, or in other words increase the release of radon from a given weight of rock. These are rock properties that maximize the exposure of internal or external rock surfaces to water or air, allowing any radon gas to escape. The author of ‘Granite and Radon’ argues that such properties, which include rock porosity, fissuring and mylonitization, will increase radon releases. This is probably true, however, a granite with such properties would be too brittle to make into a countertop, and too open to take a polish, and so would not be marketable as a countertop – unless the rock pores were first filled with a chemical sealant. Such sealing would also eliminate any possible radon release problems.”

In a more recent study that was conducted by L. L. Chyi, a Ph.D. and professor of Geochemistry and Environmental Geology at The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio. Dr. Chyi studied 13 of the most popular granites used throughout the United States as determined by an industry-wide survey. Due to their popularity these 13 granites, are believed to represent up to 85% of the granite countertop market in recent years. The granite types are as follows:

1. New Venetian Gold, Brazil; medium grained, yellow-beige gneiss with many dark red garnets

2. Uba Tuba, Brazil; A medium- to coarse grained, olive-green granite

3. Santa Cecilia, Brazil; A coarse-grained, yellow-grey gneiss with up to pie-sized, red garnets

4. Tropic Brown, Saudi Arabia; medium-grained, brown granite

5. Absolute Black, India; black basalt

6. Tan Brown, India; A black-brown igneous rock with big, shapeless, brown-red feldspar crystals

7. Giallo Ornamental, Brazil; coarse-grained, brown-yellow granulite with some brown-red garnets

8. Crema Bordeaux, Brazil; Juparana Crema Bordeaux (Brunello). A coarse- to very coarse-grained, pink to red granite with areas of quartz, alkali feldspar and quite a lot of ore

9. Baltic Brown, Finland; brown-black granite

10. Giallo Veneziano, Brazil; medium- to coarse-grained, ochre-yellow to golden-brown, also light pink, gneiss

11. Dakota Mahogany, USA; medium- to coarse-grained, brown-red granite

12. China Black, China, a fine-grained plutonic rock

13. Yellow Star, China, a medium-grained yellow to pink granite

The testing methodology was designed to measure the amount of radon which each granite type would add to the interior of a 2,000 square foot, normally ventilated home with 8 ft ceilings. The results show that Crema Bordeaux (the most active in terms of radon emissions) would contribute a concentration component of less than 0.28 pCi/L, or less than 7% of the EPA’s recommended actionable level of 4.0 pCi/L. This radon amount is well below a level which might cause health concerns. Tropic Brown and Baltic Brown, second and third in radon emanation based upon Dr. Chyi’s testing, amounted to only 1% of this action level. The other granites tested added almost immeasurable amounts of radon to the house. Radon atoms in pore spaces and fractures are of minimal concern in the case of granite countertops

Dr. Chyi’s test results show that the granites that are currently found in the United States’ market place are insignificant contributors to radon levels in the home. “Based on the testing results and EPA standards, we can conclude that the most popular granites used as countertop surfaces pose no health threat to homeowners. If proper resealing is applied once a year or at other frequencies determined by the industry, the radon emanation can be further reduced”.

Daniel J. Steck, Ph.D. also ran a test on interior radon and granite, and this is what he had to say.

“The average radionuclide contents of your building material samples are similar to other average granite samples and other common earth-derived building materials such as brick and soil. Thus, the amount of gamma radiation emitted from similar masses of these building materials will be approximately the same;

There is little sample-to-sample variation in the radon family radionuclide concentrations; the radon flux is somewhat larger for the counter-top squares than for the smaller samples. This indicates that the effective diffusion length is only on the order of the thickness of the counter-top samples, i.e. several centimeters. Thus, material thicker than 5 cm (2″) most likely will not emit more than the counter-top samples.

While we feel that health safety is a great concern especially in our homes, for an industry to attempt to gain financially by “scare tactics” or under the auspices of “Eco friendly” is reprehensible. We urge the consumer to not be taken in by these alarmist tactics.

www.nsraweb.com

Author: Josveek Huligar
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Home care

Radon Testing – How to Test and Remove Dangerous Radon Gas

Radon gas dangers in the home have become more prevalent, and can affect homeowners before radon is detected. Consider the story of Stanley, a nuclear power company employee from Pennsylvania. One day he arrived at work and the radiation monitors at the plant screamed an alarm. The experts were puzzled–how could Stan set off an alarm on his way in to work? The answer to this question brought to light one of the biggest environmental concerns of our time: Radon. It turns out Stan’s house had radon gas levels more than 500 times what was considered safe and Stan had carried the effects into work. Stan desperately needed a radon mitigation system to save himself and the health of his family.

What is Radon?

Radon is not an industrial chemical or synthetic creation. It occurs naturally when uranium in the soil breaks down, as do all organic compounds. If inhaled, radon can cause damage to lung tissues and can lead to lung cancer.

Although radon has been around since the dawn of time, it’s become a problem in the last 20 years or so, since the energy crisis led to the construction tighter more energy efficient homes. Years ago, when energy was cheap, homes were much draftier, and these built-in air leaks helped dilute indoor contaminants like radon to safe levels. However, as energy costs rose and home construction became tighter, indoor radon levels have also risen. Today, we need to pay close attention to our indoor air environment to make sure the air stays healthy and free of radon dangers.

Testing for radon gas is fairly simple. Within your own home, you can even do the test yourself. Many radon laboratories sell simple test kits, which usually come complete with a mailer to send the kit back to the company for analysis. However, if the house you’re testing is one you’re buying, some state laws require the test be done by a licensed radon testing company. Likewise, if your radon test reveals a high level of radon gas, a radon mitigation systems will be needed and should also be installed by an experience, licensed radon mitigation professional.

How to do a Radon Test

All radon tests must be done in the basement or lowest livable level of the house and under closed building conditions. Except for normal entry and exit, this means all windows and doors, from the basement to the uppermost level of the house, must be closed for the entire test, which can be up to a week. While this may be difficult, especially in the summer, it is critical. If the windows are left open, a false high or low reading of radon dangers may result.

The most common types of radon gas tests are:

  • Charcoal Absorption Canister: This is the most common radon test available and usually the least expensive. The test consists of a charcoal-filled canister which is left in the home for a period of two to seven days. Then the test is sealed and sent to a laboratory for analysis. The lab will usually mail the result back to you within one week. This test method is relatively inexpensive and reliable if done properly. However, it can take up to three weeks from the start of the test until the result is received.
  • E-PERM Testing: E-PERM is short for Electret-Passive Environmental Radon Monitor. The way it works, however, is not as complicated as its name. As radon is formed, it gives off “ions” which produce a small electrical charge. The E-PERM is designed to measure the amount of electrical charge and convert this measurement into a radon level. Similar to charcoal canisters, this test for radon danger is usually done for two to seven days, but processing is much quicker as the testing company can usually produce a result within a day of the test completion.
  • Continuous Monitors: These devices are among the more expensive radon tests available but have several distinct advantages. Continuous monitors sample air over a minimum two-day period and can produce hourly radon readings. In addition to the test result being immediately available upon test completion, the hour-by-hour test result can be analyzed to check for unusual air patterns in the house. This test is often chosen by people buying a house to make sure the closed building condition requirement is met by the sellers.

Most importantly, if the radon test result comes in high, don’t panic. Most buildings can be modified to reduce radon gas to safe levels by installing a simple radon mitigation system. In newer buildings, partial radon mitigation systems are even required during construction, just in case they are needed later to reduce or eliminate radon dangers.

Tom Kraeutler is the Host, Founder and Chief Home Improvement Evangelist of The Money Pit. He is a hands-on home improvement broadcast journalist and the kind of guy homeowners want to call at midnight when their basement floods. He first earned his home improvement stripes as a professional home inspector, amassing over 20 years experience learning how houses are put together, and how they fall apart!

Author: Tom Kraeutler
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Why You Must Check Your Home For Radon

Give Yourself a Chance

Radon is widely known in the home improvement industry. It’s kind of one of those things that no one likes to discuss, because the danger is so surreal. You’ve probably heard of toxins being referred to as silent killers, and when it comes to radon; that’s no understatement.

Maybe you haven’t heard that much about radon or what you have heard has not been too convincing. Does radon seem to be some “new” thing that is going to cause cancer and end the world? Everything seems to cause cancer, but the trick is in knowing how to prevent cancer, before it begins. Not everything causes cancer. That way of thinking is just some comedian’s way to laugh-off the seriousness of so many people contracting this fatal disease. But, it’s real.

Radon is a proven carcinogen, and experts know more about radon than other carcinogens. So, if you were told to avoid a proven carcinogen, you know that you would. Please, this is important. Radon doesn’t smell, it doesn’t have a taste, and you can’t see it; there aren’t even any immediate symptoms. Radon has the ability to kill you without even giving you a chance to defend yourself, without even knowing, not even a rash! Radon is not only found in the air, but also in water, so be sure to have your well water tested for radon.

Although radon does not give you much of a chance to defend yourself or trace whether you have been exposed, radon testing and mitigation systems have been developed in order to measure the radon count in your home, school, or workplace. There are even ways to make these places almost 100 percent radon-free. Not only do you want the places where you spend the most time to have a low radon count, but you want it gone. Did you know that most people, who have cancer from radon exposure, did not get it because they were saturated in it; but because of a low radon concentration?

Don’t let radon fool you into thinking you won’t get sick, or that you and your loved ones have no way to protect yourselves. There are experts who know how to regulate radon levels, and provide you with the protection that you need.

Radon: Close-up and Close to Home

Radon is a radioactive gas that’s a proven carcinogen. It does not smell. It is invisible. You cannot taste it if you tried. Radon does not choose favorites; it’s found all over the U.S. and infects anyone in its midst. Although not everyone exposed will contract cancer, for those who are infected, the particles damage your lung tissue and will most likely cause cancer.

Where does it come from? Well, radon is the result of the natural breakdown of uranium and radium. Once these particles breakdown and turn from a solid into a gas, with every breath you breathe in, this toxic radon infiltrates your lungs and body.

According to the studies performed by Air Chek, Inc., Connecticut’s New Haven County has an average indoor radon level of 3.9 pCi/L, which is 2.6 pCi/L higher than the national average. About 27% of homes in New Haven County have over 4.0 pCi/L — the high danger level. But, even with a radon level of 2.0 pCi/L there is still a higher likelihood of getting cancer from radon than carcinogens in your water and food.

“We know that radon is a carcinogen. This research confirms that breathing low levels of radon can lead to lung cancer,” said Tom Kelly, the director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Indoor Environments Division.

What’s Your Risk?

Radon causes about 15 percent of the world’s lung cancer cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO.) And the EPA has discovered that radon is to blame for about 21,000 of the annual lung cancer deaths.

You can increase the likelihood of contracting lung cancer from radon by not monitoring: the amount of radon in your home, how much time you spend at home, and your smoking habits.
According to the Surgeon General, if you mix high levels of radon with smoking, you are in the highest risk group to have lung cancer. Together, radon and smoking are considered the top two lung cancer causing agents.

The WHO has also concluded that radon is not just a local problem, but a worldwide health risk right inside your own home.

“Most radon-induced lung cancers occur from low and medium dose exposures in people’s homes. Radon is the second most important cause of lung cancer after smoking in many countries,” said Dr. Maria Neira of the WHO.

The Only Thing to Do

You must have your home tested for radon. You must know that the radon specialists you call are trained, experienced, and the best in the industry. Otherwise, you’re putting your life in the hands of someone you can’t trust.

When it comes to radon mitigation in Connecticut, there’s no reason to go to anyone but the best. Connecticut Basement Systems Radon, Inc. is dedicated to offering its customers in CT, NY & MA only the finest and most cost-effective solutions for radon problems within your home.

Samantha Walton currently works as a web content writer for home improvement sites, and for a Basement System’s contractor whose expertise is in radon mitigation in Connecticut. She’s a college graduate with a B.A. in communication and a concentration in public relations. She’s aspiring to one day further her education with a seminary degree. Her experience ranges from internships in marketing and public relations, content writing for local television broadcasts, to writing and editing newsletters, fliers, and other content for her local church.

For a radon estimate in Connecticut contact Connecticut Basement Systems Radon toll free today at: 1-888-630-1018. CBSR has incomparable customer service, and has become one of the largest radon companies in the U.S. Not to mention, it’s the oldest radon company in Connecticut. They also offer well pumps and well water treatment!

CBSR is a member of the Better Business Bureau Reliability Program, Water Quality Association, National Radon Safety Board, American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists, Connecticut Water Well Association, and the National Environmental Health Association.

Author: Samantha Walton
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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