Many of you might be wondering if radon is even real. Maybe it’s just another one of those new-fangled cancer causers that California decided to stick a warning label on.
It seems like everything is known in the state of California to cause cancer.
So what is radon? And how dangerous is it?
Is Radon Very Dangerous?
First off, you are definitely exposed to Radon.
Just like second hand smoke, radon is out there, and it’s impossible for you not to run across it. In fact, you may be breathing it in much more than second hand smoke.
Radon is radioactive, real, and it’s all around you. Radon comes in two main forms. The gas form is released from common radioactive elements that are decaying in your ground. You wouldn’t expect these to be in the ground, but radioactive elements are much more common than you might think. Therefore, most houses in America have at least some degree of radon that is leaching from the ground into your house.
The second form of Radon is the ionized particles that cling to things like dust. It’s kind of like when you make sugar crystals, you let sugar collect on a string or stick. Radon can do similar things, collecting in a solid form on parts of your house. Bringing that radon laced dust into your body can be harmful.
Yes, it is dangerous
How dangerous is radon? Well, studies suggest that radon is the second biggest cause of lung cancer, next to smoking. That’s right, you may be very careful about exposing yourself to cigarette smoke, but you could be inhaling something that is nearly just as poisonous each day.
Since radon is colorless, odorless, it’s impossible to know how much of it you are breathing in. Now before you freak out, understand that humans have been exposed to radiation for as long as we’ve existed. Radiation isn’t new. It didn’t just suddenly appear with the advent of nuclear power.
Luckily, the human body has built in measures to fight off radiation damage. The biggest concern with radiation is not avoiding exposure all together, it’s avoiding excess exposure. Your body can fight off the negative effects of radiation to a point.
Don’t play ignorant.
Sounds great you may be thinking. My body will fight off the negative effects of radon, just like countless generations before me. Well, maybe. Grampa’s old house may have been drafty, but those drafts may have also helped vent some of the dangerous gases that he might have otherwise been exposed to.
Homes today are built much tighter. One of the big tests done to check on energy efficiency, is to do a blower test. During this test, they seal off your house and measure how much air it leaks. The goal is to have a very minimal amount of air leakage. This makes for a very energy efficient house, but at the same time, it can trap more of the harmful gases like radon inside the house.
Luckily, testing for radon is very easy, and not very expensive. All you need to do is order a test kit in the mail. They ship it to you. You place it somewhere in your home, according to the directions. Then a few days later, you mail it off, and they tell you how much radon you have in your home.
There’s an acceptable amount of radon that is considered safe and there’s an amount that you might want to be concerned with. So what do you do if the results indicate that you have too much radon? Do you move? Do you look for someone to sue? What do you do?
Radon exposure is easy to limit.
Luckily if you have too much radon in your home, there are options available to you. The best method for getting rid of radon in your home, is to hire a company who specializes in redirecting the gas. It costs a few bucks, but they’ll come in, drill a hole or two into your floor, then place pipes and vents that keep the gas from entering your home.
While some of the radon may come from your water, most of it is leaching in from under your home’s floor. So if you can provide and easier way for that gas to get out of the ground, it will follow that easier route.
If cutting holes in concrete and placing vents is too expensive for you, just remember that radon is a gas that tends to accumulate over time. The more frequently you open a window or door, the better you’ll be able to keep your house ventilated. Of course, this may cause other problems such as heating and cooling, or pest issues.
Another thing you can do is to keep your home clean. Radon particles, attached to dust, can do little to harm you if you’ve removed it from your house.
Who is responsible for my radon problem?
Radon is still a relatively new concern that builders and homebuyers are trying to understand. Maybe someday down the road, codes will reflect preventative measures for mitigating radon risk. But for now, early detection of radon is not an easy feat. It’s also complicated by the fact that most builders are stuck with whatever soils they are forced to build on, or import.
So while a builder may have little control over the amount of radon a property produces, some have taken a few extra steps to mitigate the risks, even if they are unaware of a problem. For example, here at Leisure Villas, we’ve started running radon vents under all of our slabs in case there was ever a radon problem down the road.
These vents will help eliminate radon in the homes. If for some reason, they aren’t sucking enough of the radon out of the ground, they can be retrofitted with a booster fan to help with the mitigation.
This is just one more thing we’re doing to help keep you safe, even if nobody is forcing us into it. So while it’s not anybody’s fault, it never hurts to run a radon test in your completed home. I’d recommend that everyone get their homes tested. I had mine tested. Yes I had radon, but it came in minimal and safe amounts. At least now, I have the peace of mind, knowing that there is one less thing for me to worry about my family being exposed to.