What is Radon Gas?
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. It forms naturally from the decay (breaking down) of radioactive elements, such as uranium, which are found in different amounts in soil and rock throughout the world. Radon gas in the soil and rock can move into the air and into underground water and surface water.
Radon is present outdoors and indoors. It is normally found at very low levels in outdoor air and in drinking water from rivers and lakes. It can be found at higher levels in the air in houses and other buildings, as well as in water from underground sources, such as well water.
Radon breaks down into solid radioactive elements called radon progeny (such as polonium-218, polonium-214, and lead-214). Radon progeny can attach to dust and other particles and can be breathed into the lungs. As radon and radon progeny in the air break down, they give off radiation that can damage the DNA inside the body’s cells.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. causing approximately 21,000 lung cancer related deaths annually. For every 1,000 non-smokers exposed to radon levels at twice the EPA’s recommended action level, about 15 will contract lung cancer. For smokers the odds of contracting lung cancer jumps to 120 victims per 1000 exposed.
Why is Radon so Prevalent in Colorado?
Because of the geological makeup of our state, many homes are at high risk. Latest figures indicate that 52 of the state’s 64 counties have elevated levels and nearly 46 percent of all homes in Colorado are believed to have elevated radon levels. Any home may have a radon problem — new and old homes, even well-sealed or drafty homes.
Radon gas results from the radioactive decay of uranium, which occurs naturally in soil.
“The geological makeup of the entire state includes a lot of granite and natural uranium — a perfect breeding place for radon,” says Katherine Lemon, public information specialist with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division. While no amount of radon is considered safe, the EPA action level is 4 picocuries per liter of air. It’s estimated 50 percent of homes in Colorado have radon levels higher than the EPA recommendation.
The good news is Radon is easily detectible and mitigated. the first step is having a professional Radon Air Test. If the levels are higher than the national action level of 4 pCi/L a mitigation system is recommended. The most common approach is active soil depressurization (ASD). Experience has shown that ASD is applicable to most buildings since radon usually enters from the soil and rock underneath and mechanical ventilation (MV) is used when the indoor radon is emitted from the building materials. A less common approach works efficiently by reducing air pressures within cavities of exterior and demising walls where radon emitting from building materials, most often concrete blocks, collects.
For more information of to schedule a lost cost Radon Inspection Test please call Superior Inspections at 720.699.9721