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Radon and Your Health

These days, radon is a very talked about subject, but there are homeowners and renters who remain unaware of radon and the serious effects it can have on their health.

Radon is an invisible, silent, hazardous, and odorless radioactive gas that silently enters into your home. Radon is a direct result of the decaying of a small amount of uranium found in the earth’s crust. Radon tends to enter through small holes and cracks in the walls and floors of your foundation, or through utility lines openings, drains, sump openings. Radon spreads rather quickly. Once radon enters your basement it can quickly spread to the above levels and living spaces of your home. Once radon enters your home it can put you and your family, as well as your health in danger of poisoning.

Why is radon so dangerous?

Radon is a very dangerous and hazardous gas because it breaks down quickly and instantly spreads throughout the air. Because radon has the tendency to break down at a rapid speed, larger amounts of radon can be dangerous to you and your health. Radon poisoning can occur without your knowledge and within a short amount of time. As quickly as the gas spreads in your home, you and your family are at immediate risk of radon poisoning.

How can radon be found?

Radon in the largest sources is located in the soil around and under homes, but radon can also be in the water you drink, the building materials in your home, or in the air you breathe.

Can radon levels elevate?

Since radon comes directly from the soil under and around your home, any home is placed at risk, especially those that have a dirt crawl space. Basements that only have a dirt crawl space are at risk to being exposed to maximum levels of radon.

Can my home be exposed to radon if I have a concrete basement?

Even if your basement has a concrete floor it is also at risk of hosting maximum levels of radon.
How is radon measured?

There are radon detectors that can be installed and monitored by professionals. By having the radon in your home under a constant careful eye allows the levels of radon to be continuously measured. This will also protect you and your family from radon poisoning exposure.

If you are on a tight budget, here are inexpensive to moderately priced devices and special detection equipment on the market. These devices and special detection equipment is available in most hardware stores and home building centers around the country.

These devices and special detection equipment is placed in your home for several days. After several days, the detection system is removed and sent to a processing center or lab where tests are performed to determine if radon is in your home, if you and your family have been exposed, as well as the level of radon. Once all the tests have been processed, a report will be sent to you to confirm if you do or do not have radon in your home.

Can radon put me and my family at risk of serious health issues?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 20,000 people die in the United States each year due to from radon related lung cancer. Men and women who smoke and have been exposed to the radioactive gas have a greater chance of developing lung cancer than those who do not smoke or use tobacco based products.

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Studies have also shown, non-tobacco users and young children have a much higher chance of developing lung cancer when they have been exposed to the radioactive gas than those who have not been exposed, but young children tend to be more at risk of being exposed.

What is radon poisoning?

Since radon is the source of a decaying process, tiny radioactive particles are slowly and silently released into the air. Radon poisoning occurs when you inhale large mounts of high levels of the radioactive gas into your lungs. By breathing radon into your lungs it can cause moderate to severe damage to the lungs, resulting in lung cancer.

Why does radon poisoning occur?

Radon poisoning has a tendency to occur when crawl spaces, basements or mines are poorly encapsulated.

What are the signs of radon poisoning?

The Environmental Protection Agency has spent endless hours and money researching the symptoms and effects of this radioactive gas. There are indications to look for to tell if you and our family have been exposed to radon poisoning. Those symptoms are a persistent dry cough, hoarseness, respiratory infections, and respiratory issues.

What is the best way to confirm if I have been exposed to radon?

If you believe you or your family have been exposed to radon or if you are experiencing symptoms that you believe are from radon poisoning, it is best to seek medical attention. A physician will give you a complete check up, and run the appropriate tests to determine if you have been exposed to the radioactive gas, and what treatment will suit your specific needs.

How can I protect myself and my family from radon poisoning?

The United States Surgeon General’s office recommends all homeowners and landlords have their homes and rental properties tested for radon.

Solution

If you believe you and your family may have been exposed to radon it is best to contact a professional who can evaluate and properly test your home for radon. This will assure you and your family are safe from this radioactive gas.

Contact the radon experts at Interior Basement Systems for radon testing in Kelowna!

Author: Donna Kshir
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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Radon Concerns in West Virginia

Radon is a deadly gas that is penetrating homes across the United States by rampant force. The gas is nearly undetectable by human senses, meaning a person can walk into a home and won’t smell, taste, touch, or see the gas. The only way to detect radon is by having a radon test done in your home. There’s a lot to learn about radon and if you live in West Virginia then be rest assured because there are people ready to get rid of the radon in your home!

Radon Basics

Radon gas comes from uranium that can be found in most soil, rock, and sometimes in water. The uranium will over time breakdown and create radon gas, which is toxic when ingested over an extended period of time and in concentrated amounts. Radon gas is everywhere, but when the gas is in a location such as a work office, home, gym, or school, the likelihood of getting sick increases.

Radon is considered to be toxic because it’s a proven carcinogen.

Lung Cancer

Not only does radon tend to damage lung tissue, but it also causes lung cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), radon causes 15 percent of the world’s documented lung cancer cases. The Environmental Protection Agency has also concluded that radon is the cause of 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year.

Even Low Amounts of Radon Can Be Dangerous

Although many people think that they’re home doesn’t have radon, and if it did that it wouldn’t be enough to cause a problem; they could be sadly mistaken. Although many homes are radon-free, that doesn’t mean it’s wise to not have your home tested. There are ways to remove the radon from your home, so if your home has radon it can be eliminated and your livelihood can be protected.

“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 EPA’s Indoor Environments Division.

“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.

In West Virginia

According to the studies performed by Air Chek, Inc., the national average of radon levels in the U.S. is 1.3 pCi/L (Picocuries) and most of the homes in West Virginia maintain a higher level of radon than that! Thankfully, the warning level is 4.0 pCi/L, but as the experts from the EPA and WHO have discovered, even low amounts of radon are toxic.

West Virginia has some pretty high radon levels. In fact, only six of the 50 counties in the state are at a minimal risk of having radon gas in their home. Let’s look at some statistics for some counties in West Virginia. These statistics aren’t meant to scare you, and they don’t prove that your home has radon just because you live in one of these counties or anywhere in West Virginia. In fact, if your neighbor’s home has radon that doesn’t mean that your home has radon. So, the best thing to do is to have your home tested, because the statistics show that there are high levels throughout the state. It’s just best to be safe.

According to the EPA there are three zones for radon levels: high, moderate, and minimal concern. There is a high concern for the counties that lie on the northern and north eastern border of the state. There are six counties in the minimal concern zone: Kanawha, Boone, Logan, Mingo, Wyoming, and McDowell. Every other county is in moderate danger. Here are some examples of each zone beginning with the lower levels to the higher levels.

Kanawha County: 2.8%
Above 4.0 pCi/L – 17%
Between 2-3.9 pCi/L – 29%

Marion County: 3.7 pCi/L
Above 4.0 pCi/L – 31%
Between 2-3.9 pCi/L – 23%

Preston County: 10.3 pCi/L
Above 4.0 pCi/L – 44%
Between 2-3.9 pCi/L – 15%.

Your home’s radon levels can be lessened and you can be saved from the radon toxicity by contacting your local radon mitigation expert. If you want a radon expert to mitigate your home and identify your home’s radon level, be sure to contact Basement Systems of West Virginia. They offer radon mitigation in West Virginia as well as other home improvement services such as basement, crawl space, and foundation repair, as well as basement waterproofing.

Samantha Walton currently works as a web content writer for home improvement sites. 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.

Author: Samantha Walton
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Radon Mitigation in Virginia Becomes A Necessity for Homeowners

There’s been a bit of a myth being tossed around about a frog’s reaction to the gradual increase of heat. Some claim that if a frog is placed in warm water that the frog will not attempt to escape even as the water begins to boil-thus, the frog dies. Others say that the frog will not sit still long enough for the water to boil, or that the frog would absolutely notice the change and try to escape.

However, the scenario has been likened to snake rescue, where one expert has said that a snake will rest on a “hot rock” even if the rock becomes extraordinarily hot and eventually kills the snake. Let’s assume this perspective is correct and that some reptiles don’t respond or even recognize an obvious and deadly change in their environment. Does it suffice to say that we as humans may sometimes be unaware of the hazards that slowly develop within the very comforts of our own homes? Some would say, yes.

Radon Enters The Scenario

Many people have died as the result of carbon monoxide poisoning, which has been known to increase over time without an individual even noticing. This is why many states have requirements for carbon monoxide detectors. Radon poisoning can and does have the same ill-fated effects as carbon monoxide poisoning and the reptile stories mentioned above.

Radon is the result of soil’s uranium decay. As this process occurs, polonium is released and this creates radon’s toxicity. Unfortunately, radon commonly goes unnoticed, not because of ignorance but because of the gas’ translucence and ability to go under the human radar.

It is invisible. It has no taste, form or scent. So, it’s not all that uncommon for a person to unknowingly live in a home with extraordinarily high levels of radon. Although radon is quite frightening to discuss, it’s very real and more importantly-it’s easy to fix!

Let’s learn more about the effects of overexposure to radon gas and then we’ll discuss the testing and radon mitigation resources that are available in Virginia.

Radon-The Second Leading Cause of Lung Cancer

By now, the harmful effects of cigarette smoke is no hidden secret, but for many years smoking was part of relaxation and for some, a past time. Smoking cigarettes and living in a home with radon gas has one thing in common- lung cancer.

Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer. However, radon takes the lead as the leading cause of lung cancer amongst non-smokers. By the simple process of elimination, radon is a killer and just as cigarettes have gotten away with murder, radon is still getting away with over 20 thousand deaths a year in the U.S. alone-according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented about 15 percent of the world’s lung cancer cases as being caused by radon poisoning.

Low Radon Levels Are Still Dangerous

It’s easy to think that the worst thing possible could never happen to you; in fact that’s optimism at its best. However, when radon is involved in the equation, optimism can coexist with being proactive and safe. Even if a home has somewhat low, or what is considered to be low risk levels of radon, it’s still a good idea to call a professional to mitigate and get the levels as low as possible.

“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 EPA’s Indoor Environments Division.

“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.

Radon Levels in Virginia

According to the studies performed by Air Chek, Inc., the national average of radon levels in the U.S. is 1.3 pCi/L (Picocuries) and potentially more than 70 percent of the counties in Virginia maintain a level of radon even higher than 1.3.

Although the EPA has defined 4.0 pCi/L as the “requires action” level, many organizations including the WHO have found that even low levels of radon can be problematic, as we’ve already learned.

Virginia, like West Virginia, has many counties harboring very high levels of radon. However, Virginia is looking a bit better than West Virginia that only has six of the 50 counties with a minimal risk of radon. Meanwhile, Virginia has just below 50 percent of the counties in danger and about a quarter of the excess counties in moderate danger.

Though shocking and even a little scary, these numbers don’t define your home’s levels. In fact, you could have low levels of radon. But, regardless of the level, you want to know your family is safe. The best way to do that is to have your home tested for radon and to be sure to have annual checkups to be sure your mitigation system is working efficiently. As the earth’s soil changes, climate and your home changes, the radon levels can also adjust either by increasing or decreasing over time. That’s why it’s important to work with an expert in minimizing the radon levels in your home.

The EPA has defined three defining zones for radon levels: high, moderate and minimal concern. It appears that the southeast counties of Virginia have maintained a minimal risk as the rest of the state varies between high and moderate concern.

Here are three examples of Virginia counties with different levels of radon.

Southampton County is considered to be at low risk with 11% high concern, 21% moderate and 69% low.

Wise County is considered moderate risk with 38% high, 18% moderate and 52% low.

Lee County is considered at high risk with 41% high, 15% moderate and 44% low.

Although these all have different overall averages, each county has a percent of homes with high radon levels. This means that all homeowners regardless of the county should have their home checked for radon. What are your levels?

Your home’s radon levels can be lessened and you can be saved from the radon toxicity by contacting your local radon mitigation expert.

If you want a Virginia radon expert to mitigate your home and identify your home’s radon level, be sure to contact Evergreen Basement Systems. They offer radon mitigation in Virginia as well as other home improvement services such as basement, crawl space, and foundation repair, and basement waterproofing.

Samantha Walton currently works as a web content writer for home improvement sites. 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.

Author: Samantha Walton
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Home Radon Gas: How to Detect and Use Testing Kits

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally. It is a chemical element existing as a by-product of the natural decay of uranium, an element in the ground that been around since the earth was formed therefore it is found in low levels everywhere. When radon becomes trapped in buildings, concentrations can increase in indoor air and radon exposure then becomes a concern.

We need to be very much alert that radon is a deadly gas. It is one of the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, only second to cigarette smoking which is the number one responsible for lung cancer deaths. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Surgeon General have strongly recommended that all residences (except those above the 2nd floor in multi-level buildings) be tested for radon. Needless to say, smokers with high levels of radon in the home has much greater risk of getting lung cancer.

How Radon Gets in Home
Uranium is a radioactive element that decays and forms radium which gives off radon gas, it then travels up through the ground and infiltrates the water and air we breathe. When it reaches the surface of the ground, the gas can go directly into the air where it does not usually do any damage, or it can seep into a building where it collects and causes health problems.

Some parts of the US are more susceptible to radon gas than others. The difference between the higher pressure in the soil around your home’s foundation and the lower air pressure inside your home makes your house act like vacuum, that radon gas gets drawn in through cracks, open seams, holes and just about any openings below the surface of the ground.

Since radon may also presents in well water, it can be released into the air in your home via showering water and other household water uses, though the risk is small compared to the radon amount entered from the soil. For small number of homes, the building materials may also give off radon gas, although they rarely cause problems alone.

Methods to Detect Radon Level
You have to perform a test in order to find out if radon is in a building. That is the only way. The EPA recommends two ways of testing:

Short-Term or Passive Testing – This is the cheapest and quickest way. Depending on the device you choose, they can remain in your home for 2 to 90 days. Charcoal canisters, electret ion chamber, continuous monitors and charcoal liquid scintillation detectors are most commonly used in short term testing. Because radon levels tend to vary from day to day and season to season, a short term test offers a less conclusive evaluation than a long term test. For quickest yet firmer results, do a short term test followed by another passive test as such.

Many types of low cost short term “do it yourself” radon test kits are available in hardware stores and home centers. Make sure to buy a test kit that has passed EPA’s testing program or is state certified. You should see phrase like “Meets EPA Requirements” displayed on the kits. They are quite inexpensive.

Long Term or Active Testing – This is a more expensive way and the testing kit has to be remained in the home for more than 90 days. There are two types of commonly used test kits: Alpha track and electret detectors. A long term test gives you a reading that is most likely to tell your home’s year round average radon level. Radon gas detectors that monitor gas levels on a continuous basis are also available.

Hire an EPA qualified or state certified radon tester if you prefer, some lenders may require certified test results to close the transaction when buying or selling a home.

How to Use a Radon Test Kit
Always follow the instructions that come with the test kit. Place the radon test kit in the lowest living space of the property. It should be put in a room that is used regularly, but not your kitchen or bathroom. Put the kit at least 20 inches above the floor in a location where it won’t be disturbed. Keep it away from drafts, high heat, high humidity and exterior walls. Leave the kit in place for as long as the package says, do not take away earlier than that. When finished testing, reveal the package, send it to the package specified lab directly. Normally you should receive the results within a couple of weeks.

Note that if you are doing a very short test that lasts only 2-3 days, be sure to close your windows and outside doors at least 12 hours in advance; for longer period of testing, keep the windows and outside doors as much as possible during the test. Keep in mind: Do Not conduct 2 to 3-day passive tests during severe storms or unusually high winds. The results will not be accurate.

Interpreting Test Results
The amount of radon in the air is generally measured in picocuries of radon per liter of air (pCi/l), or may be expressed in Working Levels (WL) sometimes. Based on the EPA standards, amount of radon that is higher than 4 pCi/l or 0.002 WL is considered too high that corrective measures should be taken to fix the problem. If your initial short term test result is higher than 4 pCi/l or 0.002 WL, the EPA recommends that you take a second test to be sure. For a better understanding of the radon levels in your home, taking a long term test is recommended.

Any radon exposure carries some risk, even the levels below EPA set standard. So lower the radon amount sometimes is necessary. This would be in the next hub – Radon Reduction Techniques.

(c)Copyrighted: You may freely republish this article as long as author bio and active hyperlinks are included.

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Author: Jacklyn Chen
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Radon – The Invisible Killer

Radon is a colorless, tasteless, naturally occurring radioactive gas found in soil and rock that is a by-product of decaying uranium. You might be thinking, I’ve heard of uranium, don’t they make bombs from that? Well, yes they do, but uranium occurs naturally in rocks all around the globe. Some areas have a natural propensity to have higher concentrations of uranium than others.

Why radon is dangerous

We are all walking around with a bit of radiation in our bodies, and radon is by far the largest contributor to a person’s overall amount of radiation they are carrying around. Breathing high doses of radon has been scientifically proven to cause lung cancer. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, radon could be the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking causing 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States. Radon-induced lung cancer ranks as the 6th leading cause of cancer deaths overall. Other forms of cancer may be related to radon exposure. Studies are underway to see if there exists a relationship between radon exposure and leukemia.

Where radon is

Remember radon gas is formed as a by-product of soil containing granite or shale (the two of which carry larger than average amounts of uranium). But we’re talking very small amounts. On average, every square mile of surface soil, to a depth of 6 inches, contains only 1 gram of radium which is responsible for releasing radon into the atmosphere. Worldwide, the amount of radon varies greatly and is variable within a given region and even from room to room in a house.

Is radon in my home?

Radon exits the ground and can seep into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation. Radon gas can also contaminate well water. We know that radon concentrations are usually higher in areas near major fault lines so in Southern California we should be aware and take the proper precautions.

Knowing the characteristics of radon gas should help protect you and your family from exposure. First, radon gas being heavier than air tends to settle in low lying areas. With adequate ventilation, radon gas cannot become concentrated to a level to cause harm. On the other hand, in enclosed areas such as inside buildings, basements and crawl spaces, radon gas levels can become harmful. Second, if you smoke, stop! The effects of radon exposure in people that smoke is synergistic; i.e. the effect of smoking coupled with higher than average levels of radon exposure is greater than the sum of the two parts measured separately.

The EPA claims that 1 in 15 U.S. homes has radon levels above the recommended guideline. Their guideline of what is acceptable is roughly equivalent to receiving 200 chest x-rays over one’s lifetime. Their current recommendation (and that of the US Surgeon General) is that all homes be monitored for radon levels.

How to test for radon

Home kits are available in most home centers but it is claimed that their results might not be reliable. A better option would be to hire a professional home inspector with experience in radon testing. Professional tests are reliable in determining if your home has areas in it where radon levels are above the threshold set forth by the EPA. The tests are non-invasive and begin by placing a measurement device near the floor on the lower level of the home. Additional tests may be recommended by the inspector if you have any granite surfaces in your home, like a kitchen countertop. Other than placing the collection devices where recommended, nothing is done. There are some specific instructions that you must follow regarding the testing site(s) like keeping the windows and doors shut as much as possible. Testing may have to be postponed if your area is experiencing high winds or a pending storm, or if humidity levels are high (all of which may adversely affect the test results).

The inspector will return in 2-7 days to collect the devices after which time they are sent to a lab for analysis. Results are usually available shortly thereafter.

How to remove radon

The EPA recommends you use mitigation (control) techniques to reduce indoor radon if levels in your home are above the recommended threshold. Mitigation methods include adding positive pressure ventilation in your home which effectively creates a pressure differential (higher pressure in your home, gas cannot flow in). Sealing all floor penetrations to help prevent the gas from seeping into your home from below is also a good idea. Be advised that ventilating your basement or crawl space IS NOT RECOMMENDED as some people suggest. This flawed mitigation technique practiced by many companies could have the adverse effect of bringing more radon gas in which naturally exists outside the footprint of your home’s foundation.

Homebuyers: be sure to read this

If you are in the process of purchasing a home ask your Realtor to include a radon contingency in your offer to purchase. This clause states the maximum level of radon that is acceptable to you and your family. Afterwards, hire a company to survey the home for radon gas levels. Radon testing is offered by most professional home inspection companies so be sure to ask this question when interviewing home inspectors in your area. If radon levels are found to be above the levels set by you in your contingency, this clause will afford you the right to back out of the contract without penalty.

Facts to remember about radon gas

  • Just because your next door neighbor’s house has tested high for radon gas does not mean your home is at risk.
  • Houses with basements are not at a higher risk for radon than houses without basements.
  • Radon levels vary region to region, and even from house to house on the same street.

This article is free to copy and use on your website or other publication providing the information below is included in your article.

Darin Redding is owner of Housecall Property Inspections, a professional San Diego Home Inspection company. Original Article Source: Radon San Diego

Author: Darin Redding
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Radon and Lung Cancer – What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You When Buying a Home

Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers in the United States. As a Certified Property Inspector and Radon tester, I am seeing that most new home buyers are unaware of the dangers of Radon. As a result of this lack of information, most home buyers as well as current homeowners are not having their homes tested for Radon. In many cases, my clients have also been misinformed by real estate representatives or the media regarding both the prevalence and lung cancer dangers of radon. Radon testing if done by the homeowner, is inexpensive, and takes only 48 hours.

Here are some important facts about Radon that homeowners and renters should know to protect the health of your family. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Visit cheec.uiowa.edu/misc/radon.html for more on a study by Dr. William Field on radon-related lung cancer in women.

Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. The type of construction, foundation or location does not prevent a Radon problem. Its presence in a home can pose a danger to a familys health. The only way to determine if a home has a Radon problem is to have an EPA standardized test done. This test can be completed by the homeowner or a certified professional.

The U.S. Surgeon General and EPA recommend that all homes be tested for radon. All homes can be fixed if there is a radon problem found. The average cost of a radon fix for a home is about $1,200. Some home improvement stores sell inexpensive test kits for about $35 (which includes an EPA certified lab report). However, Consumer Reports recently found that those test kits were not very accurate. Therefore, if you want to do your own testing contact your state radon office for a better quality inexpensive test kit.

If the homeowner or buyer/seller does not or cannot to do the Radon testing (some states require a professional complete the test during a real estate transaction), visit the National Environmental Health Association Radon Certification website at: radongas.org/radon_measurement_service.shtml This site has properly certified radon testers as myself listed by the cities in your state.

The untimely deaths of Peter Jennings and Dana Reeve have raised public awareness about lung cancer, especially among people who have never smoked. Smoking, radon, and secondhand smoke are the leading causes of lung cancer. Although lung cancer can be treated, the survival rate is one of the lowest for those with cancer. In many cases lung cancer can be prevented; this is especially true for radon.

EPA has designated January as National Radon Action Month, a time when state radon programs and other partners conduct special radon outreach activities and events across the country. The aim of National Radon Action Month is to increase the public’s awareness of radon, promote radon testing and mitigation, and advance the use of radon-resistant new construction practices.

For more information on Radon and home inspections or to contact the author, please visit: http://www.gpinspect.com

Steve Zivolich, is an ASHI Certified Inspector and owner of Guaranteed Property Inspection and Mold Investigation in Southern California. He is also certified in: Radon, Mold, Energy Efficiency and Asbestos testing and investigations.

Author: Steve Zivolich
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Radon And Real Estate – Know The Facts And Fear Not

Concerned about buying or selling a home with Radon? You’ll find no need to worry if you educate yourself with the facts. Radon is found all over the United States, and one home can show a reading while the house next door shows nothing. From a real estate perspective, buyers can consider it a plus if a mitigation system is already in place, because that means the house has been tested, and fixed, and there’s no mystery. On the flip side, sellers can confidently let potential buyers see the radon results of a house, along with any mitigation, in a positive light, because information is more honorable than ignorance. I figure the good karma alone would pay off…

Radon is a radioactive gas found in soil and rock, formed by the decay of uranium, which is a natural process. Radon gas is invisible, with no odor or taste. Statistics say that radon hasn’t been shown to negatively affect home sales, but after my own experience of having the option to buy a house with radon, I wondered if that statistic was really true. I didn’t want to buy a “cancer-causing radon house” but that was a very uneducated and closed end thought. Ironically, I was ready and willing to buy a house that didn’t even mention radon at all. Of course, it had to finally occur to me, “What if this other house has radon too, and it’s just never been tested?”

In retrospect, our situation made me think that the psychology of not mentioning it at all could be pretty slick, and affective, but only initially. The truth is, there are still many people who – innocently – don’t consider it an important part of buying or selling a home; it simply doesn’t occur to them. There are many who even consider radon a scam entirely. However, out of respect and consideration for the market, it would probably be wise to have test results on hand.

Would you rather know, or choose ignorance? I’d rather know, particularly if a house had a high level that needed to be addressed with mitigation. An extremely high level, like 20 pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter) might spook me a little, but my chances of getting lung cancer even then (without mitigation) would only be 36 out of 1000, and that’s IF I were exposed over a lifetime. Statistics say that a level of 20 pCi/L would cause lung cancer to 260 out of 1000 people if they were exposed to that level for a lifetime AND they also smoked cigarettes. So obviously the level is hugely reduced for non-smokers, but we all know that smoking is its own risk anyway.

Human nature doesn’t typically want to think about risks and our emotional interpretation of them with numbers, charts and comparisons. Any one of us could still get hit by a bus tomorrow, right? Still, information offers wisdom, and to make a decision as a home buyer, you should take a look at the numbers with a mitigation system in place so you can at least see that there’s no need for extensive fear.

Mitigation systems can reduce whatever level of radon that is present down to 2 to 4 pCi/L. Because of the very definition of radon, the EPA can’t say that they consider any level safe, but they do say that 2 to 4 pCi/L is acceptable, with minimal risks. If mitigation lowers radon to an acceptable level, the EPA says your chances of getting lung cancer are only about 5 in 1000. With lower numbers like that, one realizes that walking or living in pollution over a lifetime could just as easily have ramifications too, like a dozen or more other factors. Okay, so, “Warning: being alive will kill you one day.” No big surprise there.

It’s nothing to make fun of, but very low levels of radon need not be perceived as alarms that make home buyers run for the hills. Humans have been living with varying amounts of radon in the earth and air for a long time, completely oblivious to it for the most part. It fluctuates with warm and cold, damp and dry conditions, and furthermore, there are worse things in the world that can be just as hazardous to our health, if not more so. Don’t become phobic, but stop and think about the chemistry, biology and toxins all over our environments; some of our cleaning products, molds, pesticides, pets, and even food choices… Heaven help us if we over-analyze “indoor pollution” and “what’s in that dust?”

Here are some things to consider, just to make sure you’re informed and have no unnecessary fears or misconceptions.

How long might you live in the house? Some people buy a house to live in for a lifetime while others know that they will want to take it up a notch in 5 or so years. Radon’s health risks are charted to show how a person’s health would be affected over a lifetime of exposure; this is probably equivalent to 20 years or more. The risk for only 5 to 10 years of exposure would likely show lower risks than the EPA’s “over a lifetime” chart.

According to the EPA, the average indoor radon level is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi/L. If you buy a home that hasn’t been tested at all, consider that this average exists.

Yes, radon is a hazard, but it can be fixed. Have confidence in mitigation systems, and if you have any doubt, contact the National Radon Hotline at 1-800-SOS RADON to ask if there are mitigation professionals in your area that can check the system. If they can’t tell you, they can at least give you the number to your state’s radon office so you can find out about trained mitigation contractors in your area.

Study the Environmental Protection Agency’s website (www.epa.gov) to find many consumer resources, including information about radon and health, and how various mitigation systems work.

If you’re in love with a house that you want to buy, don’t hesitate to ask the seller to test for radon, even though it may take some extra time. If the score shows radon above the “acceptable” level, know that mitigation can either be requested as a contingency in your offer, or you can try to get a fair reduction on the price of the house to accommodate your cost of adding mitigation.

Suggestion to sellers: test your house and make sure you’re ready to show test results if a prospective buyer asks about radon. If needed at all, you can either have mitigation installed in order to offer a safer home for sale, or be prepared to lower your asking price accordingly. (Not by much, roughly $500 to $2000). There’s a very good chance that a buyer will appreciate the knowledge or action taken pre-sale. Only the uneducated will shy away, so it would be helpful to have a few informative brochures readily available.

Simply put, houses with radon can be fixed, and doing so doesn’t cost an arm and a leg – no more than a medium to low-cost home repair. Fear not. If you want to buy a house because it feels like home, and the deal is ripe and full of potential, don’t miss out on it due to uninformed (or misinformed) fears about radon. Refer to http://www.radon.com or the EPA’s website to find out more about test kits and contacting your state’s radon office; be educated, so you can make a smart decision on buying, or take responsible, if not considerate, action as a seller.

Author: Angela Cravens
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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The Top 5 Ways to Keep Radon Out of Your Family’s Home

1. Get a radon test performed
Testing homes and businesses for radon is one of the best ways to tell how much radon is coming into your home through cracks and crevices. A radon test tells you numerically what the risk in your home is. And since our kids, pets and ourselves breathe radon gas in and out constantly, it makes sense that more and more people are getting the test done to make sure there is as little radon in their home as possible. After all, if you could prevent lung cancer, wouldn’t you?

2. Get a professional opinion
Even if you buy a home radon test kit yourself, getting a professional opinion is always a good idea. The reason is that first, a radon kit must be done scientifically. Any moving air, pets or kids going by can skew the test results so it’s best to have your results verified by a professional radon mitigation contractor. Plus, they know tricks and things to look out for because they work to get rid of radon all the time. Most of us don’t have that expertise and knowledge to work off of.

If needed, radon mitigators will advise you on what measures can be taken to rid your home of the radioactive gas. They can tell you what needs to be done specifically to make your home and family less susceptible to the effects of radon gas.

3. Re-test your home
Any responsible radon mitigation professional will test your home for an initial radon reading. But, the best radon experts will perform checkups on your home’s levels to ensure your home’s radon levels are still safe. This is much like a scientific experiment, where the scientists will take measurements before and after the “action” has taken place. This allows them to provide a numerical value to represent the radon changes in your home. This matters because it dictates whether anything needs to be done to the home, to get the radon readings as low as possible.

4. Seal it up
A common practice homeowners and contractors will take on is to seal the home’s cracks to keep radon out. This helps because it cuts down the amount of air that passes in and out of the home. The only issue with this is that homes are chock full of cracks and crevices and it’s almost impossible to make sure they are all sealed. Even if you did seal 100% of them, radon could still be present in the home. This is why crack sealing is a great complement to other radon mitigation practices but should not be the only line of defense.

5. Get a radon detector
As the dangers of radon are now talked about more than years past, companies have made radon detectors easier for homeowners to find and use. Radon detectors can help alert you to high radon levels in a home. There are both short-term and long-term detectors available on the market. Radon detectors are a great way to get an immediate reading on your home or office and can also be used after radon mitigation to ensure that levels are consistent – if something changes in the amount of radon, the detector should detect that and give a different reading.

If you’re looking for a radon mitigation professional in your area to perform radon gas testing in your home, you should contact National Radon Defense. It’s a network of radon business professionals that you can trust.

Author: Marianne Snyder
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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How to Protect Your Family From Radon Gas

Number one cause of cancer
It’s common knowledge that smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer and it makes sense. With all the chemicals flowing through the lungs consistently each and every day, the chemicals cause regular cells to mutate into cancer cells and then they spread throughout the body.

Radon causes lung cancer
The same principle follows with the second leading cause of lung cancer, which is radon gas. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) radon kills 21,000 people by way of lung cancer each year. About 2,900 of those people were not even smokers. Radon can also be found naturally in drinking water, which is another way it enters our bodies.

Radon gas can be found everywhere naturally. But it’s especially found in enclosed spaces like mines, homes, and basements. It’s a gas no human can smell or see, which makes it dangerous because there’s no way to know for sure that you have a radon problem just by smelling it or looking for it. To put this into perspective of how dangerous radon gas can be to your health, the third leading cause of lung cancer is second-hand smoke.

The most threatening side effect of radon gas is lung cancer. It is the only physical malady proven to be linked to radon exposure. According to the EPA, smokers have an even higher risk of getting lung cancer when exposed to radon because they have more carcinogens passing through their lungs at a consistent rate.

Since the gas permeates our lives quite literally, we are constantly breathing it in and out with each breath. The gas is both inside and outside as it comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in our soil and water. Radon is a form of radiation, which may be why it affects us like other radiation forms do. Since the gas is all around us, we have to be vigilant about watching the gas levels in the spaces we inhabit.

The quick fix
Testing for radon levels is the easiest way to find out if you have radon gas in your office or home. Testing kits can be found at hardware stores or online and you can set them up. You will need to follow the instructions very carefully so test results are not skewed however.

Another option is to have a radon mitigation contractor do a radon reading at your home to see what levels of the gas are present. This is a great value because the contractor can also tell you how to best keep radon out of your home or office. Whether your test results come back with high levels or low levels, they can give you tips on how to best protect yourself and family from the gas. If you do end up needing a radon mitigation system, a certified radon contractor will be able to complete the job correctly. Doing it yourself could save you money initially but the chances are high that at some point a contractor will need to come in to get the radon levels as low as possible.

The radon reading catch
The EPA recommends that buildings with 4 pCi/L (pico Curies per Liter) or more take action and have the building mitigated for radon. The difficulty with this is that many people then think levels lower than 4pCi/L are safe.

The reality is though, is that even at a level of 1.3 oCi/L in a building, 2 out of 1,000 people may still get lung cancer. As a country we still do not understood enough about radon and the risk it poses to each of us. This means the best way to protect ourselves is to go on the offensive against radon.

The take home message here is, radon can still harm you, even with only small amounts. This isn’t being written as a scare tactic, but to make people aware of what radon can do, so they can protect themselves and their family.

To test your home or office for radon gas, find a professional who does radon gas testing today.

Marianne Snyder writes about home improvement topics like energy efficiency, basement waterproofing and crawl space repair.

Author: Marianne Snyder
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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