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Radon Gas Health Risks

Radon is a naturally forming radioactive gas that occurs with the decay of uranium and radium. Specially designed instruments are necessary to detect radon gas because it has no odor and can't be seen or tasted.

Radon is found in rocks such as certain granites and shales that contain uranium. How much radon enters the soil and ground water depends on the concentration of uranium in underlying rocks. Radon can also be found in the air, usually at low concentrations.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found in studies that exposure to radon gas increases the risks of lung cancer and other diseases. The diseases associated with radon gas may not become apparent for many years after the initial exposure.

The air inside homes can become contaminated with radon gas if there are cracks or other openings in concrete slabs, floors, crawl spaces, and concrete blocks. It can also be released indoors if it is present in tap water used for showers, washing dishes, or washing clothes.

Generally, radon accumulates in basements and on ground floors of homes and other buildings. The higher floors don't see a buildup of radon. Because homes and other buildings in the same neighborhood are built differently, it cannot be assumed that radon levels are going to be the same. Measurements must be made at each location.

Passive radon detectors can measure the level of radon in a home when they are left in place for a specific period of time. Although short term measurements are convenient, those measurements made over a period of a year or more can more accurately determine the risks to your health.

A mitigation device should be installed by a qualified contractor and monitored at regular intervals. For testing of water from a private well, samples of the water should be collected and analyzed by a certified laboratory. The method of collecting the water is critical so the laboratory should collect the samples.

The proper implementation of any radon detection and/or removal devices is advised and professional guidance is strongly recommended.

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