Radon Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more about Radon by browsing through our Frequently Asked Questions.
What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is a product of the uranium decay chain. It is an odorless, colorless, tasteless and inert gas. It can readily move through voids in rocks and soils, and enter homes with other soil gases, through cracks and other openings in building foundations. Because the building is enclosed, the radon gas can accumulate to high concentrations. Long-term exposure to high levels of radon gas increases the risk of developing lung cancer. The CT DPH recommends that all homes be tested for radon gas and to mitigate homes when airborne radon is equal to or greater than 4 pCi/L.
Another way radon can enter a building is through well water. Because radon is not highly soluble in water, it can out-gas to the indoor air environment during domestic water use (e.g., showering, clothes washing). There is presently no federal or state standard for radon in public drinking water supplies.
A homeowner's first priority should be to test for radon in the air. If your home is served by a private well, you should also test for radon in the water. If the average of two or more waterborne radon tests is equal to or greater than 5,000 pCi/L, then the homeowner should consider treating the well water. The EPA and DPH recognize that typically, the greater health risks associated with radon are through the inhalation of radon gas and its decay products.
Why is Airbone Radon bad for you?
Breathing radon in indoor air can cause lung cancer. Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe it. As they break down further, these particles release small bursts of energy. This can damage lung tissue and increase your chances of developing lung cancer over the course of your lifetime. People who smoke have an even greater risk. Radon in indoor air is the second leading cause of lung cancer. About 22,000 deaths a year in the U.S. are caused by breathing radon in indoor air. Radon can cause lung cancer in anybody, but people who smoke are at an increased risk. Also, your risk of developing radon-related lung cancer increases with higher levels of radon exposure.
Why is Waterborne Radon bad for you?
Radon gas can also enter homes through the water supply. Radon dissolves and builds up in water from underground sources, such as wells. The radon in your water can enter the air in your home when you use water for household activities such as showering, washing clothes and cooking.
For every 10,000 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of radon in your water, 1 pCi/L is added to your radon in the air. If your water comes from a lake, river, or reservoir (surface water), radon is not a concern. The radon is released into the air before it reaches your home.
Some radon stays in the water. Radon in the water you drink can also contribute to a very small increase in your risk of stomach cancer. However this risk is almost insignificant compared to your risk of lung cancer from radon.
How does Radon enter your home?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Air pressure inside your home is usually lower than pressure in the soil around your home's foundation. Because of this difference in pressure, your home acts like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings.
Radon also may be present in well water and can be released into the air in your home when water is used for showering and other household uses. In most cases, radon entering the home through water is a small risk compared with radon entering your home from the soil. In a small number of homes, the building materials ‐ such as granite and certain concrete products ‐ can give off radon, although building materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves. In the United States, radon gas in soils is the principal source of elevated radon levels in homes.
Why do I need to test for Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can also enter your home through well water. Your home can trap radon inside.
Any home can have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home. That is where you spend most of your time.
Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have an elevated radon level (4 pCi/L or more). Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in your state. Contact your state radon office for information about radon in your area.
Why should I hire DMI AccuSystems instead of doing it myself?
The EPA recommends that you have a qualified radon mitigation contractor fix your home because lowering high radon levels requires specific technical knowledge and special skills. Without the proper equipment or technical knowledge, you could actually increase your radon level or create other potential hazards and additional costs.
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