Have you ever tested your home for radon? This invisible, odorless gas is poisonous in large quantities, found in the soil, water, and air. It becomes hazardous to the health of individuals when entering homes and buildings through the gaps and cracks in foundations.

Short-term and long-term tests are specially designed to measure radon levels. In the event of high gas presence, homeowners should increase ventilation, seal all cracks, eliminate the use of exhaust fans, or hire certified professionals to install a mitigation system.

The guide below provides an insight into the effects of this life-threatening gas and the best methods of protection.

Health effects

This radioactive gas has no colour, taste, and odour, which makes people unaware of its presence. In order for radon to be released into the atmosphere, other elements need to go through a process of decay. Once uranium breaks down, it gets transformed into radium, whose decay eventually leads to the production of radon. The moment it leaves the soil, this gas becomes part of the atmosphere, causing no harm to one’s health in tiny amounts.

Nevertheless, radon is known to increase in amount in places with improper ventilation such as homes, commercial buildings, mines, etc. The longer the exposure to this radioactive gas, the more serious the danger it poses to human health. Read more about the health risks of radon in smokers and non-smokers. 

When a person breathes radon in, it finds its way into the pleura, referring to the tissue that protects the lungs and triggers radiation. Long-term exposure has the potential to cause cell damage, eventually resulting in lung cancer.

Moreover, smokers exposed to this harmful gas are at higher risk of developing lung cancer. The worst thing about such poisoning is the absence of symptoms until it’s too late for individuals to treat their condition. It takes many years of exposure to high levels of radon for a person to show the initial symptoms of lung cancer.

Additionally, lung cancer starts with a persistent cough that gradually leads to coughing up blood. Also, individuals experience wheezing and shortness of breath that worsens over time. When coughing, it’s normal for people with lung cancer to feel pain in their chest. These people become more susceptible to bronchitis and pneumonia, as well as experience fatigue and appetite loss.

How people get exposed to this radioactive gas?

Since radon is found in soil and water, there’s a high risk of entering homes, office buildings, and schools, which makes people largely exposed to its life-threatening effects. Nowadays, there are multiple Radon protection systems that aim to provide security and peace of mind to individuals. Their purpose is to inspect homes and buildings for the potential presence of this gas and protect people from exposure.

Furthermore, radon penetrates homes and buildings by using the cracks in foundation and plumbing systems, regardless of how tiny these are. Consequently, it’s most present in basements, as these are in close proximity to the ground. Also, this harmful gas can be emitted by certain types of building materials such as concrete and granite but the levels are quite low.

Additionally, individuals might get exposed to radon through residential water supply systems, which supply residences and buildings with water from lakes, wells, or rivers. Anyhow, it takes more time for the gas to come in contact with people through water than air.

The majority of homes are exposed to certain levels of this gas, but exposure is determined by various factors. For instance, its presence is largely influenced by the concentration of uranium in the soil. Also, sandy soils are believed to facilitate the flow of radon unlike clay soils, which slow it down.

The construction of homes is considered important since it determines the contact your house has with the soil. Naturally, foundations in good condition provide fewer entry points for the gas to penetrate homes. The weather can also increase or reduce the levels in accordance with the change in temperature, rain, and wind. Visit the following link, https://homeguides.sfgate.com/house-foundation-bad-41694.html, to check out the most common signs of bad home foundation.

Protective measures

Before taking any protective measures, homeowners are expected to test their households for radon. Since these levels are prone to variation over short periods, residents are suggested to perform long-term tests that cover a timeframe of at least three months. In contrast, short-term tests measure gas levels for as many as three days.

When conducting a short-term test, the windows and doors of houses should be closed at all times in order to minimize the entry of ambient air. Long-term tests, on the other hand, are best performed in the course of autumn or winter. In order for the kit to show accurate results, the detector should be placed on the lowest floor as long as residents spend more than four hours daily there.

In case test results show levels higher than 4 pCi/ L, referring to the picocuries, it’s high time for protective measures to be taken. Start by ventilating your home, particularly the basement. Make sure to open all windows and doors for fresh air to enter the house, which makes radon disappear.

The following step is to seal all the cracks you can detect with caulk. Look for gaps and cracks not only in the foundation but the basement and flowing as well. It’s important not to reduce the levels of air pressure inside the house by minimizing the use of exhaust fans. After taking all of these measures, it’s essential to perform another test.

If the new results show identical or higher levels, there is no other alternative but to ask for professional assistance. Homeowners can hire certified professionals to reduce the presence of radon by installing a mitigation system in their homes. Normally, these specialists are expected to inspect the structure of the house and perform diagnosis first.

Final word

Beware of the health risks imposed by this gas.

Have your home tested on time!