Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. It is created during the natural breakdown of Uranium within the soil and rock. The decay chain for Radon is demonstrated above and includes the half life of each element and whether it is an alpha or beta particle emitter.
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Radon is a known carcinogen, which means prolonged exposure to high levels of Radon gas can cause cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has declared Radon to be the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.
Radon gas continually seeps into the air from the ground. Concentrations are low outside due to dilution of the ambient air. In poorly ventilated areas and enclosed spaces, radon concentrations can build up.
Four conditions must be present to enable radon to enter your home.
Two of these are geological:
- there must be uranium in the soil as a source material,
- and there must be permeable soil which allows radon to move through it to your basement or crawlspace
The other two conditions are determined by the house and its construction:
- there must be pathways for radon to enter the basement, such as holes, cracks, plumbing penetrations, or sumps (found in every foundation),
- and there must be an air pressure difference between the basement or crawl space and the surrounding soil.
If the air pressure is lower indoors than in the soil, air and gases in the soil will enter. All four conditions must be present to have radon. If you reduce any one, less radon will enter your home. The last two conditions, determined by the house and its construction, are the key ones for mitigation.
As a means of prevention, EPA and the Office of the Surgeon General recommend that all homes below the third floor be tested for Radon. Because Radon is invisible and odorless, a simple test is the only way to determine if a home has high radon levels. EPA recommends mitigating homes with high Radon levels and there are straight-forward reduction techniques that will work in virtually any home.
To obtain a test kit, check your local hardware stores or online with the links below
Test Kits Suppliers
ND Radon Mitigation Videos - How to Fix Your Home
How to remedy radon issues in your home
Radon Mitigation Suppliers
Radon Measurement and Mitigation Training
What is Radon?
Facts you should know before buying a home