What is Radon Gas?
Radon is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in the soil. The problem is that Uranium is one of the most common radioactive elements on earth and is found almost everywhere, which means Radon can be found everywhere. Unfortunately, for those in Pittsburgh, Radon gas is more often a problem than it is not as four out of ten homes have what the EPA considers "elevated Radon levels." In fact, Pennsylvania is ranked as the third highest state for average Radon levels in the United States.
Where Does Radon Come From?
Radon is all around us, but there is very little Radon in the air we breathe outside. The problem arises when Radon is trapped in a confined space, making the basement of a home the prime spot for Radon to gather. Radon gas seeps into the basement of your home, from the soil, through cracks in your home's foundation, or gaps in the walls and floors. Radon gas then travels from your basement throughout the rest of your home, affecting you and your family. In Pittsburgh Radon affects many homes due to most having basements; a danger zone for the deadly gas.
How is Radon Measured?
Radon is measured in picocuries per litre, pCi/L, or the amount of Radon particles in air. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommends a level below 4.0 pCi/L. Even though this is the EPA recommended level, this amount of Radon, over a long period of time, can still have harmful effects on you and your family. Radon can not be completely removed from the air, or your home, but it can be reduced to a safer level.
Is Radon Gas Dangerous?
So is Radon dangerous? The answer is yes. Radon gas is considered a class A carcinogen by the surgeon general. This means that it is known, without a doubt, that it causes cancer in humans. Just because you cannot see Radon, or if you may not feel that your family is being affected by Radon, does not mean that it is not causing damage to the health of those living in your home. The amount of damage being done is dependent on the level of Radon in your home. The only way to know your home's level, is to have your home tested for Radon.
How Dangerous is Radon?
You may be surprised at how much radiation is in Radon gas when compared to common occurrences that we see on a regular basis. A home with the level of 4.0 pCi/L has the same amount of radiation as receiving 100 chest X-rays in one year. Most doctors recommend not exceeding 5 in a single year!
Another perspective is that Radon gas in the same home (4.0) is equivalent to the amount of radiation in smoking 10 cigarettes a day. If you compound this with someone who already smokes, the impact is even greater. When we consider children, their lungs are smaller and they have a faster respiratory rate, which means they are inhaling more Radon gas than an adult.
We know these facts and numbers are concerning, but luckily testing and removing Radon can be done easily and your home can be kept safe with the help of our Radon professionals.
Radon is the second leading cause of lungs cancer, after cigarettes. A radon level of 4 pCi/L, the EPA recommended action level of Radon, is equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes a day. For non-smokers this is a large amount of radiation, but even more for those who smoke.
That is the number of lung cancer related deaths caused by Radon every year in the United States. That is more than carbon monoxide, home fires, and drunk driving combined! Almost everyone has carbon monoxide detectors, and smoke alarms in their home, but few test for Radon.
Radon cannot be detected by human senses. It is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. The only way to test for Radon gas in your home is through Radon testing. Unfortunately, Radon is also different from home to home. Just because your neighbor tested low, does not mean your home will as well.
The composition of the ground underneath your home is constantly changing, this means that even if you have your home tested for Radon once, it may change over time. Home Radon Pros suggests that you have your home tested for Radon once every two years.
Does My Home Have Radon?
The only way to know if your home is impacted by Radon is to have a Radon test done. Uranium is constantly being decayed, which results in the creation of Radon gas, so your home is constantly being affected by Radon. Not all homes will be in danger, but the EPA states that 1 out of 15 homes in the US have Radon levels above the recommended action level of 4 pCi/L. In Pittsburgh, PA, the danger is even higher with 4 out of 10 homes being at or above the Radon recommended action level.
Most homes in the Pittsburgh area, have basements, which makes them highly susceptible to Radon gas being trapped, but even if you do not have a basement, your home could still be in danger. The only way to know for sure if your home has a high level of Radon, is to have your home tested.
What Can You Do To Stay Safe From Radon?
Contact a local Radon professional, like Home Radon Pros in order to set up Radon testing in your home. If you would prefer to do the testing on your own, you can purchase a monitor from amazon, or buy a home test kit from a local department store. These methods are not as effective as a professional's device
Once you receive the results of your test, the next step is to consider Radon mitigation or removal. A Radon company like Home Radon Pros can help you determine what type of Radon removal system will be best for your home to keep your family safe.
Retest your home once every two years to ensure there are no drastic changes and check on your system to make sure it is running properly.