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Blog Environmental Issues Radon: The Invisible Killer
Radon: The Invisible Killer
Environmental Issues
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You cannot see or taste radon, which can make it very difficult to detect its presence. A byproduct of uranium, radon exposure can cause serious health problems. This makes it extremely important to know whether or not radon is present in or around your home.
Though it may sound frightening, the truth is that everyone has some level of radiation inside their body. The level is greatly affected by the amount of exposure that one has to radon. Scientific testing has now proven that when high doses of radon are breathed in, it can cause lung cancer. According to the EPA, radon ranks second only to smoking in causing lung cancer, and 6th in all cancer related deaths. Studies are still being done to determine what other types of cancer that radon may cause.

Your Home and Radon

Soil that contains granite or shale will promote the formation of radon gases. Generally, only small amounts form. However, this can vary quite a bit from location to location. Levels can even vary greatly in different rooms of a home.
how-radon-gas-enters-houseWays in which radon gas enters a houseRadon enters the home through foundation cracks. It can also make its way into well water. Areas of the country that are located near fault lines, such as Southern California, are often linked to higher radon levels. Those who reside in these areas may need to have greater concern over home radon levels.
The protection of your family should begin with knowing radon characteristics. Radon gases weigh more than air, and therefore tend to settle into lower areas. Adequate ventilation in these areas is very important, as ventilation will not allow higher concentrations to form. Basements and crawl spaces are two places in which radon gas levels can reach harmful levels. Smokers who live in homes with higher radon levels are highly encouraged to stop. The combination of the two will greatly increase cancer risks.

Testing For Radon

It is estimated that one in every fifteen United States homes contains radon levels that are too high. There are radon testing kits available for purchase online and at many local hardware stores. These may or may not be reliable. More reliable testing can be performed by a home inspector that is experienced with radon testing. This testing consists of the use of a radon measuring device. These devices are left in the home for a few days, at which point they are collected and delivered to a lab to be analyzed. Further testing may be recommended should you have granite in your home. 

Removal of Radon

Mitigation techniques are recommended should testing show that radon levels are too high in your home. One method involves changing the pressure ventilation in the home so that radon gases cannot enter. Another recommendation would be to seal all floors in order to keep gases out. Though ventilation inside the home is important, it is not recommended to attempt to increase ventilation in basements or crawl spaces that contain radon. Doing so could actually bring more radon into the space.

Radon Information for Home Buyers

A radon contingency can be included in a home purchase contract. This would be a protection clause that would allow you to void the contract without being penalized should radon testing reveal that radon is present in the home above recommended safe levels. Once the initial offer has been made, it will be your responsibility to hire a home inspector that offers not only general inspection services, but radon testing as well. 
Darin Redding is owner of Housecall Property Inspections, a professional San Diego Home Inspection company.
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Article Source: San Diego Radon Inspection

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Darin Redding
Written on Sunday, 14 June 2009 10:24 by Darin Redding

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