Radon Guide for Home Owners
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Maryland Handyman Home Page > Resource Center > Understanding Radon

Understanding Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring element that is actually an airborne contaminant. Radon is clear and odorless, tasteless, and radon gas can build up anywhere in the nation. Radon is a by-product of Uranium which can be found in soil, rock, and water and in the air. Because Radon gas is radioactive, air inside the home that possesses Radon may lead to the threat of lung cancer. Radon inside a home will build up to unhealthy levels increasing the chance of lung cancer. The Surgeon General has created a health advisory concerning Radon gas in the home because of this threat. "Indoor Radon gas is a national health problem. Radon causes thousands of deaths each year.

Radon is undetectable by humans without using special equipment to measure its concentration. Radon results are measured and reported in either picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or working levels (WL). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set 4 pCi/L or 0.02 WL as the acceptable limits for Radon gas in the home. Any readings above this are considered hazardous. There are a variety of methods for testing Radon but the guidelines enumerated in the EPA's Radon Measurement Proficiency Program (RMP) should be followed to insure the most accurate test results.  

Just how Radon enters the home can vary. Radon typically moves up through the ground, through cracks and other holes in the foundation, slab, sump pump openings, floor drains, and pores in hollow brick walls to name a few. Radon can also seep into ground water coming from wells and remain trapped there, entering the home in the water being pumped from the well. Those on municipal water supplies do not have as much risk from this type of problem. Make sure you have your home tested for radon.

We hope that you have found this article helpful. Please contact us if you have questions. This article is to give you an idea of what to look for. It is always recommended that you hire or consult with a professional and licensed contractor.


 
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