Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs in many things we ingest every day, such as water and even the air we breathe. Even though it occurs naturally, if we are exposed to it at high levels it can cause major health risks, such as lung cancer. Here are some frequently asked questions that homeowners might have about this health hazard.
Where Does Radon Come From?
Radon gas occurs in groundwater. That means that it can leak into your home from spots that bring moisture into your home. A big culprit is dirty crawlspaces. As well, if your home has issues with the foundation, such as cracks, then it could leak in that way. Well water is also a big source of radon gas leakage.
Do I Still Have to Worry if My Area Does Not Have a High Radon Level?
Unfortunately, even if your home is in a low radon area, you can still be at risk. The acceptable level is 4.0 pCi/L, so it does not take long to get over that level. It is never a bad idea to test your home to make sure that your radon levels are safe. Even if you have a brand new home with a new foundation, you should get a test. There may be tiny cracks, and if the basement is still unfinished there can be a relatively sizeable risk.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Radon Exposure?
Unfortunately, radon is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, so you will never know that it is there and affecting your health. It will not cause you to have rashes, or headaches, or get dizzy. It can cause lung cancer, which also has few symptoms until it is at an advanced stage. Since there are no warnings or symptoms, the only way to know if you are being affected by radon is to test your home.
How Does Radon From Well Water Get Into the Home?
Radon naturally occurs in water, so it gets into your home whenever you use your taps or an appliance like the dishwasher or laundry machine. The water will release radon into the air, where humans can inhale it. Radon gas is most dangerous when it is inhaled. While it is slightly less dangerous when ingested, there are studies that link ingested radon to stomach cancer.
What Influences Radon Levels?
There are many things that can affect the radon levels in your home and that can influence a radon test. Radon levels can fluctuate, but it is not normal for the changes to be significant on a day-to-day basis. If you are unsure of the results you are getting, then it is best to consult a professional. To get an accurate reading, consider the time of year, for starters. Radon levels are highest in the summer, so if you are doing a long-term test, make sure that your test will span both warm and cool times of the year. The test should also be performed in the lowest possible spot in your home, as that is where radon levels would be highest. Rain and wind can also affect your results, so do your testing on a clear day. Make sure to closely follow the directions so that you are using your tester correctly.
If you do have radon in your home, then a professional can clear it out to get it down to a safe level. Consider testing your home for radon to keep you and your family safe.
Advanced Air Quality Consultants offers radon testing services in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area. Contact us online or call us to schedule a service call.