What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. Radon gas comes from the natural decay of uranium in the rocks and soil. Uranium breaks down into radium, and radon is the decay product of radium. Radon is detectable in the outdoor air, and elevated indoor air levels have been found throughout the United States (Radon Occurrence Maps).
Radon gas is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L). A curie, which gets its name from Madame Curie, represents the radioactivity associated with one gram of radium. A picocurie is one trillionth of a curie. Finally, a picocurie per liter refers to an amount of radioactivity that emits 2.22 disintegrations per minute in a one-liter volume of air.
When radon escapes into the open air, it is harmless. However, when the gas enters into the living areas of buildings and accumulates (see Radon Entry & Behavior), it becomes a health threat. The decay products of radon can lodge in the lungs and increase the risk of lung cancer. The current airborne radon level at which the EPA recommends action is 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). Further, the EPA says to consider action if the level is 2 to 4 pCi/L and suggests that every home and workplace be tested for radon gas in the air.
Lung cancer is attributed to prolonged exposure to radon gas. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates radon causes approximately 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year. Other health risks include stomach cancers associated with the ingestion of radon-laden water. See our Radon Links for more risk information.
Radon concentrations commonly are much higher in water than in air. As a general rule, a measurement of 10,000 pCi/L of radon in well water will contribute 1.0 pCi/L throughout the household air. However, this may vary depending on the amount of water used, the air exchange rate of the building and the proximity of an airborne test to the point of water usage.
Many wells in the United States have been found to contain more then 10,000 pCi/L, and some wells have tested at more than 1,000,000 pCi/L. To help protect us from waterborne radon, the federal government passed the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendment of 1996, mandating the adoption of municipal guidelines. It is believed that the final maximum contaminant level for radon in municipal well water will be between 300 and 4,000 pCi/L. Some current state recommendations for waterborne radon reduction are: Connecticut, 5,000 pCi/L; New Jersey, 2,500 pCi/L; New Hampshire, 2,000 pCi/L. US Radon, Inc meets or exceeds all EPA, NEHA, and NRSB protocols for installing radon reduction systems. Every radon reduction system we install meets not only these standards but also all national and local building, electrical and plumbing codes. We offer a variety of airborne radon reduction systems and provide the best solutions for waterborne radon reduction. Property owner safety and optimum radon reduction are our primary concerns.
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