A Bit About Radon
Sure Foundation Home Inspections has just recently become certified to perform radon testing measurements! Because of this, I figured we could take a minute to discuss what radon is and why it may matter to you.
Radon is a cancer-causing, colorless, odorless, naturally occurring, radioactive, inert, gaseous element formed by radioactive decay of radium atoms. Radon is a radioactive gas that emanates from rocks and soils and tends to concentrate in enclosed spaces such as our houses. These particles will get into your home through any spaces that aren’t sealed, such as cracks in foundation walls and slabs, around plumbing supply lines, plumbing waste lines, and lift station and sump pump basins in basements. And, because our more modern homes are sealed so much better, these particles have a harder time escaping from the home so the volume increases.
The real problem for concern is that studies show that radon causes cancer. During the normal breakdown of the radioactive material, radon lets out emissions of particles or energy known as disintegration. It is from this energy that cancer may be caused. This is breathed into the lungs, which become damaged over time, potentially resulting in lung cancer. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that radon is the cause of about 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year. In fact, the Surgeon General of the US has stated that it is the second leading cause of lung cancer, which puts radon even above second-hand smoke.
I live in Colorado. Much of Colorado, according to the EPA and their heat maps, is classified as a Zone 1 for radon, meaning, it is expected that the predicted average of screened indoor radon levels is above 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). Homes that have levels higher than 4 pCi/L are encouraged to consider radon mitigation steps. If you would like to look at those maps, visit colorado.pdf (epa.gov) or State Maps of Radon Zones | Radon | US EPA.
Due to time and space, I will need to continue with the discussion of radon in an upcoming post, but I wanted to start this discussion. Although it may not be discussed too frequently or forcefully by our news or government, radon is recognized as a potential danger by worldwide environmental agencies, such as the EPA, the WHO, and CDC. But, do not worry. Testing for radon is inexpensive and easy to do. The Surgeon General recommends that all homes be tested for radon to ensure that you know the levels within your home. This is something that Sure Foundation Home Inspections can help you with. We can do in-home testing for radon in the southern Colorado areas. If you are outside of our area, I’m sure we can find someone close to you that can take care of that for you. Our continuous monitor will take readings each hour to help piece together an estimated level of your home’s radon exposure.
Contact us if you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment. In our next discussion about radon, we will discuss more about measuring in your home, as well as actions to help lower radon levels in your home.