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What to do about Radon

Updated on April 5, 2011

Dangers of Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring gas element with the atomic number of 86. It is formed by the decomposition of the naturally occurring radioactive element uranium. Radon is found all around the world. However, certain areas have higher concentrations of radon than others. Radon is found in high doses in areas that have natural springs. The town of Boulder in Montana is famous for its springs; it is less famous for its high radon levels.

Radon exposure is the second highest cause of lung cancer in the USA after cigarette smoking according to figures published by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Levels of radon outside are normally acceptable because they are not concentrated. In homes levels of radon can build up and can become a health hazard. The problem with radon is that it is colorless and odorless and the effects of radon exposure are not immediately apparent. The only way to know if your home has a high radon count is to buy a radon testing kit. The best radon testing kits come with free lab testing.

What Can you Do?

If you do have a high radon count in your home there are a number of actions you can take. One thing you should do is to plug the holes around your home. Gaps around sump pumps, gaps under doors and around air-con ventilation units should all be sealed to stop radon seeping into the house.

Certain areas of a house such as basements have no natural ventilation. It is in these areas that radon concentration levels can build up. One effective strategy is to install an extraction fan to allow a flow of air.

The final and most drastic measure you can take to reduce your radon exposure levels is to move house. You can find maps on the internet showing high radon density areas.

It is surprising how little media attention is given to radon considering what a killer the gas is.


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