Radon: What You Can Do About the Deadly Gas

RadonPeople are familiar with the dangers of fire and carbon monoxide. So most residents have smoke detectors and gas detectors in their homes. But people overlook one other deadly gas: radon.

What is Radon?

Radon is hazardous to health because it has radioactive property. The naturally occurring, odorless and colorless gas can cause lung cancer. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is the leading cause of lung cancer among those who don’t smoke.

The breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water produces the deadly gas. It can enter homes through cracks and various openings. This occurs because of the difference in pressure between your home and the surrounding soil; your home can act as a vacuum that makes it easy for the odorless, colorless gas to enter.

Radon can also be present in the water you use for showering; a small percentage can also be found in granite and concrete materials.

Radon Exposure: What Happens

The main adverse effect of radon is its ability to cause lung cancer. It can cause large and small cell carcinomas, adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas as well as several serious respiratory diseases (for example, chronic interstitial pneumonia). It is also teratogenic so pregnant moms should be aware that it can cause abnormal fetal development.

Protection from Radon

A good start to mitigating radon exposure is to get radon testing in Utah. The Surgeon General and the EPA suggest testing to detect the presence of the gas, or determine its levels. You can get a testing kit or choose a reliable service that has the expertise and equipment to ensure a thorough evaluation.

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One in 15 homes in the country is contaminated with levels of radon over 4pCi/L, the level at which action should be taken to rectify the problem. You can reduce radon by soil depressurization, drain tile suction, crawlspace ventilation, and home pressurization with a fan and sealing of cracks in the walls.

You can also install a heat recovery ventilator; adequate ventilation can improve indoor air quality for homes that may have indoor pollutants.

Properly applied mitigation can reduce radon by 99%.