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Radon What It Is and Why You Should Care

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You may not have heard of radon has but if you own your own home, you should education yourself. Radon gas is very dangerous and the only way to know if your home has a problem with it is to have a local radon testing contractor come in and look at your levels.

What is radon gas?

Radon is a naturally occurring gas. It is created when uranium decays. Uranium can be found in the soil, rocks and water all over the planet as it is a natural part of the Earth’s crust. All uranium decays and released radon gas. The process of uranium decay takes 14 steps. At step six, you have the radon gas release. Scientists say that this step is the first that is not decay to another solid but the start of the release of gases from the element uranium.

The main problem with radon gas is that it is odorless, tasteless and completely invisible. Because it is found in the crust of the planet and all over the world, it has been found in every state in the country. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that at least one in 15 American homes have elevated levels of the gas.

Why should I care?

Radon is very dangerous for human health. It is a known cancer causing substance. At least 20,000 people die every year from lung cancers that were caused by exposure to radon gas. This has been proven by the Office of the Surgeon General and the EPA. This makes it the second leading cause of lung cancer, just behind cancer. The half life for radon is about 3.8 days. As it decays, the alpha radiation causes damage to the DNA of the lung tissue. Radon gas is especially dangerous to young children.

What should I do to protect myself and my family?

The first step is to hire a local radon testing company to find the current levels of radon gas in your home. You can contact the EPA to get a list of companies who are in your area and have experience testing homes for this substance. You should know that if you own a home, you will have to have this process repeated. The levels of radon gas in your home today may be different in a year or two. Talk to the local radon testing company about the frequency of testing that they recommend.

Before the company conducts the residential radon testing, you should:

  • Seal off your home. You want the local radon testing company to get the most accurate readings possible. This means you need to close all of your windows and doors or at least 12 hours before the radon tests are done. This will prevent the radon gas from dissipating and give you the most accurate readings possible.
  • Do the testing when the weather is good. If there is a big storm system going through your area, you should reschedule the radon tests. These can change the amount of radon because if the changes to the area’s barometric pressure both outside and inside your home and the readings cannot be as accurate under these conditions.
  • Test at the lowest point in your basement or home. If you have a basement, you should have the testing done at the lowest point. If you do not, you should still have the tests done at the lowest point of your home that is closest to the ground.

What can I do if there are high radon has levels in my home?

Call the EPA and get a list of local radon mitigation and abatement services. They can come in and remove the radon from your home and make it safer for your and your family. A reputable radon mitigation company can also work with you to devise a plan to keep the gas out of your home. It generally enters through the foundation so you need to really watch that for cracks that can allow the radon gas to get in. If you have a sump pump, it should be covered. If you have a crawl space under your home, you should properly ventilate it to keep the radon from becoming trapped in your home.


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