In an estimate, over 20,000 lung cancer deaths are caused by radon exposure. Radon is a cancer-causing gas that you cannot see, taste or smell but could be a problem in your home. It is the leading cause of lung cancer that has cost the United States over $2 billion each year in health care expenses. Radon is a colorless chemically unreactive inert gas that is nine times denser than air and easily penetrates to many common materials such as paper, leather, low-density plastic, building materials, mortar, paints, wood panelling, sheating paper and most insulations.
A home exposed to 4 pCi/l radon levels is exposed to about 35 times as much radiation as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows. For example, an elementary student spending eight hours a day and 180 days each year in a classroom with a 4 pCi/l level of radon will get almost ten times radiation than the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will allow. The main exposure to radon is through inhalation and ingestion. Radon in grounds, groundwater and building materials enter a living space and disintegrates to decay products. Although high radon could contribute to exposure through ingestion, water inhalation is usually more dangerous.
The only way of determining the radon levels in your home is through testing because there are no immediate symptoms to alert you of its presence. Usually, it will take years before problems could surface. High levels of radon have been discovered in every state in America. If you find out that your home has high concentrations of radon, there are ways of lowering it to acceptable levels. Most radon problems can be fixed for less than $500 if you do it yourself. Nevertheless, if you require the assistance of a professional, you can look for certified radon mitigators in your state.
Millions of homeowners in the United States have already tested their homes for radon levels. One out of fifteen homes has elevated radon levels. It is of vital importance to contact the radon office in your state for more information. While radon problems are more common in some places, any home could have problems. Since there is no established safe radon level, your home always has potential risks. Nevertheless, you can reduce the risks by lowering the level of radon in your home.
One of the ways of lowering the radon levels in your home is to seal cracks on floors and walls. You may also use simple systems like fans and pipes. Bear in mind that doing major home renovations could alter the level of radon in your home, so make certain to do a test again after you have renovated your home. You can buy home radon test kits in hardwares and other retail outlets. In case you do the testing on your own and you discover high radon levels in your home, do not install exhaust fans in your basement and consider the problem solved. Remember that radon remediation should meet specific standards of design and construction. Many municipalities require a licensed professional or contractor to apply for a remediation permit and will install the system.
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