What is radon?
The owner of our company has worked with radon for almost 20 years. Yet, even with the existence of the Internet we continue to be amazed about how little people actually know about radon!
Allow us to provide a basic "overview".
Radon is an invisible, natually-occuring, "radioactive" gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in the ground
As Uranium, (a solid), decays it forms "Radium". Radium further decays and forms a radioactive "gas" called "Radon".
(You may recall all three elements on the "periodic table" in your middle school science class!). Uranium - (U), Radium - (Ra), Radon - (Rn)
Radon is EVERYWHERE! (all around the world!). It is most found in bedrock "granite" and "shale" and "phospate" geologic formations.
How much of a problem it can become depends on it's "strength of concentration" deep in the ground.
Radon gas is actually "heavier" than air! To become a problem it has to be "drawn to the surface". This is actually happens due to the "natural vacuum" that "Mother Nature" (i.e. the Earth's atmosphere) places on the earth.
Radon emanates "everywhere" and becomes so diluted once in outside air that it is not a health concern.
However, where structures are built OVER it, it becomes "trapped". Due to the "negative pressure" that typically exists in most houses (because of the "slight vacuum" created by the HVAC system when it is running), radon is "drawn inside" through cracks in the slab foundation, through cinder block walls, around floors over crawl spaces, through wall cavities and floor drains.
Once inside, it can collect to levels that the EPA has determined to be a serious health concern. (The EPA says long term exposure to elevated levels of radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer and the FIRST among "non-smokers"!).
You basically need three things to have a problem with radon:
1) A source 2) A pathway for it to enter 3) A mechanism that draws it inside.
Since the early 80's there has been an emphasis in the building industry on better "energy efficiency". Consequently, homes have been "insulated" much better. However, the "tighter" you make a home to keep "heat" and "air conditioning" from escaping, the more likely they will better retain "anything else" which enters (like radon).
The "strength" of the radon source in the ground is based on the surrounding geology. Some parts of the country have geologic formations in which uranium, (and consequently "radon"), is known to reside in higher concentrations. But each house is different and the levels encountered can sometimes vary considerably on the same street! That's why its critical that EVERY homeowner test their house and pinpont "what level of radon" THEIR specific house has!
Repeat...."EVERY house has "some level of radon!" The question is simply "how much"? Take action to protect your family and get your home tested TODAY!