WHAT IS RADON?
Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that seeps up from the earth. When inhaled, it gives off radioactive particles that can damage the cells that line the lung.
Long term exposure to radon can lead to lung cancer and radon exposure is the 2nd highest cause of lung cancer second only to cigarette smoking.
WHERE DOES RADON COME FROM?
Radon is produced from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. Uranium breaks down to radium. As radium disintegrates it turns into radon gas.
WHERE IS RADON THE MOST COMMON?
While radon is present everywhere but certain
areas of Minnesota have extremely high levels.
The most dangerous situation is when the gas
builds up in your home, where you spend most
of your time. The quality of home makes no
difference in the presence of radon.
WHAT IS AN UNSAFE LEVEL OF RADON?
Any amount of radon is not desirable, but test readings
above 4pCI/L are considered most dangerous and the
home should be mitigated.
HOW DOES RADON GET IN A HOME
Cracks in concrete slabs
Spaces behind brick veneer walls that rest on uncapped hollow-block foundations
Pores and cracks in concrete blocks
Exposed soil, as in a sump or crawl space
Weeping (drain) tile, if drained to an open sump
Loose fitting pipe penetrations
Open tops of block walls
Building materials: brick, concrete, rock
PRESSURE AFFECTS ON RADON
Most homes operate under a negative air pressure, especially during the heating season. What this means is that the air pressure inside your home is typically lower then the surrounding air and soil, and this creates a vacuum that pulls soil gases, such as radon, into the home via pathways. Even if the ground around the house is frozen or soaked by rain, the gravel and disturbed ground underneath the house remains warm and permeable, attracting radon gas from the surrounding soil.As warm air rises to the upper portions of a home, it is displaced by cooler, denser outside air. Some of that displaced air comes from the soil.Strong winds can create a vacuum as they blow over the top of the home.Combustion appliances like furnaces, hot water heaters and fireplaces, as well as exhaust fans and vents, can remove a considerable amount of air from a home. When air is exhausted, outside air enters the home to replace it. Some of this replacement air comes from the underlying soil.