How does radon enter the house?Radon enters the house through the groundwater under your house. There are many different ways the radon can enter the house. It can enter the house through the cracks in the foundation, water lining and through
your water well, windows near the ground level, etc.
What is radon? When should I take action? Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that you can’t see, taste, or smell. It is produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon is measured in picocuriesper liter (pCi/L) of air. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that action be taken to reduce radon levels if the annual average is 4 pCi/L or higher.
Where is radon found? All rocks contain some uranium, although most contain just a small amount. Certain typesof rock, including granites, dark shales, light-colored volcanic rocks, sedimentary rocks containing phosphate, and metamorphic rock derived from these rocks, have higher than average uranium contents. The radon gas from the soil can enter a home or building through dirt floors, hollow-block walls, cracks in the foundation floor and walls, and openings around floor drains, pipes, and sump pumps. Radon is more concentrated in the lower levels of the home (that is, basements, groundfloors, and first floors). Radon problems have been identified in every state. The EPA estimates that one in fifteen (1/15) homes in the United States has elevated radon levels. You cannot know if you have a radon problem unless you test.
What are the health efects? Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. As they break down further, these particles release small bursts of energy that can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime. According to the National Academy of Sciences, Radon is the second leading causer of lung cancer, causing an estimated 15,000 to 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Not everyone exposed to elevated levels of radon will develop lung cancer, and the amount of time between exposure and the onset of the disease may be many years. Like other environmental pollutants, there is some uncertainty about the magnitude of radon health risks. However, we know more about radon risks than risks from most cancer causing substances. This is because the data on radon come from studies of cancer in people exposed to radon in homes and in mines. Many other substances have test data only from animal studies.Smoking combined with radon is an especially serious health risk. If you smoke and have high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high. Stopping smoking and lowering a high radon level are the best ways to help minimize your future risk of lung cancer. Children have been reported to have a greater risk than adults of certain types of cancer from radiation, but currently there is no conclusive data on whether children are at greater risk than adults from radon. Your chances of getting lung cancer from radon depend mostly on the following factors:• How much radon is in your home• The amount of time you spend in your home• Whether you are a smoker or former smoker.
Does radon in drinking water pose a risk? In most cases, radon entering the home through water will be a small source of risk compared with radon entering from the soil. The EPA estimates that indoor radon levels will increase by about 1 pCi/L for every 10,000 pCi/L of radon in water. Based on a National Academy of Science report, the EPA estimates that radon in drinking water causes about19 stomach cancers per year. Swallowing water containing radon poses a much lower risk than breathing radon. Because radon in indoor air is the larger health concern, the EPA recommends that you first test the air in your home for radon before testing for radon in your drinking water. Radon gas can enter the home through well water. It can be released into the air we breath when water is used for showering and other household uses.