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What is Radon and Why Is It a Huge Concern in Our Homes

  • Apr 06, 2022
  • 250

Most people have heard the word, know how to spell it, and believe it to be dangerous, but ask them what is radon, and the majority of people cannot answer. Science has been aware of radon for a long time and there are measures that can be taken to protect buildings from this menace.

Radon is a gas that has no taste, color, or smell, but it is very dangerous to breathe for any length of time. The decay of uranium that exists naturally in the ground is what produces this radioactive gas. It is known to initiate cancer in the lungs, especially for people who smoke or have smoked in the past. In fact, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer second only to smoking. It is believed that one in seven lung cancer deaths is attributable to radon.

How to Know if Radon is a Threat

There are simple and inexpensive test kits for radon that can be found in hardware and department stores. It doesn’t take long to get a reading, which will make it clear if radon is a health hazard in your home. Although any radon amount is not good, a reading of less than 4 picocuries per liter of air is considered safe.

The test is taken on the lowest floor of the home because that is where radon is most concentrated. All doors and windows should be closed when taking the test because this lowers the pressure inside the home and naturally draws the radon up through the floor.

Many homes and commercial businesses have radon, so it should not be a surprise for anyone to find they have the problem. The best air purifiers that address radon have activated carbon filters in them. If you read the Surround Air XJ-3800 Review, you will find it has this type of filter and can aid in the removal of radon in small areas.

Experts agree that while mechanical filters can remove some radon, highly concentrated amounts of the gas must be removed by other means. Some homes have readings of 80 picocuries per liter or more, and no air treatment system, not even the Honeywell HEPA Air Purifier, can effectively remove that kind of contamination.

Because radon is considered the number one danger in homes today and the fact that 21,000 people die each year as a direct result of breathing this poisonous gas, everyone should make certain that they are not exposed. Radon can appear anywhere, and nothing indicates that some areas of the world are more susceptible to it than others are.

Testing of a vacant lot prior to building a home is non-conclusive of what conditions can be expected after a house is built. Even remodeling an existing home can change the amount of radon infiltration.

Existing homes on crawl spaces are the easiest to retrofit with mechanical means of removing radon. The basic way of removing radon gas is by way of a piping system that has intakes under the floor and a powerful fan that draws the gas out through the roof and broadcasts it into the air above the building to dissipate into the atmosphere.

This kind of construction should be left to professionals who are experienced in radon removal in order to achieve the best results. Air circulation through a home is one of the best short-term ways to lower the danger of radon gas, but it is not a solution to the problem.

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Harold McGee By, Harold McGee
Harold James McGee is an American author who writes about the chemistry and history of food science and cooking. He is best known for his seminal book On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen initially published in 1984 and revised in 2004.
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