Radon can be a very dangerous substance, one that is all the more dangerous for being able to go undetected – flying under the radar, as you might say. As radon is both odorless and unable to be seen with the naked eye – as well as tasteless – it can be difficult to detect even in homes where the owners are aware of the risk that radon can present. And all too frequently, many don’t even know that radon presents a risk in the first place (or even what radon is).
And radon is more prevalent than you might realize. As a matter of fact, up to one home out of every fifteen has radon levels that are at or even above the action level that has been set by the Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA). And in some parts of the country, radon concentrations are even higher. Unfortunately, up to seven states have radon concentrations that are so high that up to one third of all homes located within them have radon levels meeting or exceeding the EPA action level. Sadly, the same can be said for as many as three Native American reservations as well.
But what exactly are the consequences of radon? Why exactly is exceeding the EPA set action level such a dangerous thing? Well, for one thing, it has been found that exceeding the EPA action level for radon levels means that you and your family will be exposed to up to 35 times the radiation that you would experience even if you were standing right next to the fence of a radioactive waste site. And this radiation can have some very dire consequences indeed.
One such consequence is lung cancer. This is perhaps the biggest threat of radon exposure, especially radon exposure over a long period of time. And the more radon is in a space, the higher the risk for lung cancer. With each increase of 100 Bq/m, the overall risk of lung cancer development will actually increase by a full 16%. Already, radon has become one of the leading causes of lung cancer in the world, followed only by smoking and tobacco usage. Unfortunately, this means that radon exposure leads to as many as 20,000 deaths from lung cancer over the course of a single year – and that’s just here in the United States alone.
But reducing radon levels can bring down lung cancer risk considerably. As a matter of fact, you can reduce total lung cancer deaths caused by radon by as much as a full 4% just by bringing down all homes to the EPA action level or below. This means that up to 5,000 lives would be saved on a yearly basis. And radon mitigation is actually not all that difficult, with even just passive methods of mitigation able to reduce total radon by as much as half. After this point, something like a radon ventilation fan can even more fully bring down radon levels.
But how do you know the radon levels in your home in the first place? Local radon testing companies can help to provide you with the information that you need. Local radon testing companies can typically give out a short term radon test. Of short term radon detection tests that are currently on the market, most will test radon during a span of two days up to a full 90 days, which is nearly a three month span of time. For most cases, the residential radon testing services that fall within the scope of local radon testing companies will be short term tests. However, local radon testing companies can offer much more long term tests as well, tests for the purpose of testing radon for at least 90 days, if not longer, in the home. The results of the testing as conducted by local radon testing companies will help to determine if further action is needed.
After the work of local radon testing companies is done, for instance, you might need to hire a radon mitigation company. These radon mitigation companies will help to interpret the results gained from local radon testing companies and move forward with the necessary action. This will help to reduce your safety in your own home.