Radon Abatement: Removing Radioactive Gas From Your Home

High levels of radioactive gas may be in up to 25 percent of all U.S. homes, the article includes where does radon come from, levels of radon in the home, and Radon abatement techniques.


| September/October 1987



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ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

The need for radon abatement is rising. Up to 25% of all U.S. homes may have hazardous levels of radioactive gas. 

Radon Abatement: Removing Radioactive Gas From Your Home

You're breathing it right now. Radon, an invisible, odorless, radioactive gas, is present everywhere in our atmosphere. A natural product of the breakdown of uranium, radon emanates from rock and soil but is usually so diluted by air that it poses a minimal health risk. Problems arise when humans construct radon traps — buildings — and then live in them.

Houses with dangerously high radon levels have been found in all 50 states. There's no question that some regions are more prone to radon problems than others, but no area is immune. And even the fact that a neighbor's home with similar construction has been tested and found to be safe is no guarantee that yours will receive a similar report.

As many as 10 million U.S. residences may have significant radon contamination, and there is now nearly universal agreement among experts for radon abatement and that all homes should be tested. If you haven't yet had your home examined for radon, you should choose a company to remove this dangerous gas.

Finding that your home does have a radon problem is no cause for panic. But, depending on the concentration, it may call for prompt action. First, retest thoroughly. Use multiple detectors — both carbon and alpha track — and place them so as to get a better idea of where the concentrations are highest in your house. Your state radiation protection agency or the commercial tester may provide information or assistance in proper screening. If the problem is confirmed, it's time to get to work.

How Bad are the Levels of Radon in My Home?

The results of radon tests are usually expressed in units called picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). Without getting into the physics of radiation, that means that there are about two radioactive disintegrations of radon 222 in each liter (9/10 quart) of air every minute. As you can see, this has nothing directly to do with alpha particles bombarding lung tissues and causing mutations. However, through a complicated (and still controversial) process, health physicists can relate units of radioactivity to health risk.

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The Story of radon goes back as far as the last ice age. Several Million years ago glaciers covered most of the land we call home today. Contained within these ice blocks were several minerals, elements and isotopes. One of these isotopes was Ranium-238. Over time, Uranium-238 decomposes and emits a by-product commonly known as radon gas. (Link to source: http://www.azradon.com/ A lot of people write about the fact that radon affects the lungs and the respiratory system. But radioactive elements affect not only the lungs of man. Scientists have found that radon gas negatively affects the immune, sex and blood-forming cells. What can this lead to? The first option is to lose the natural security of the human body, which, naturally, provokes the development of a wide variety of diseases. The second option is very dangerous because the affected cells can become the basis of a new life - at the conception of a child, which may not be fully born. The third option - leukemia, is also not the most pleasant disease, cure of which requires strength, time and a good amount of money. By the way, the researchers, who conducted long-term tests related to this gas, found that three quarters of all annual irradiation received by each person living on our planet is associated with radon. Radon is a radioactive chemical element, that is, it irradiates our body. Radon is a chemical element with symbol Rn and atomic number 86. It is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas. (Link to source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radon We need to spend more effort on fighting radon. There are government programs - https://www.odh.ohio.gov/.../radout/radonpublication.aspx Needed to allocate more budget to combat radon! The health and life of our citizens depends on this.






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