What are the health effects of radon gas? What are some sources of radon gases? How can a radon gas problem in?
What are the health effects of radon gas? What are some sources of radon gases? How can a radon gas problem in a building be alleviated?
The primary health effect of radon gas is lung cancer. There are other possible health effects, but lung cancer is far more likely. The US EPA estimates that approximately 20,000 cases of lung cancer per year in the US are due to radon exposure.
There are three basic sources of radon gas: rocks and soil, groundwater, and building materials which originate in the ground (cement, brick, granite, etc.). Rocks and soil beneath buildings are the primary source of elevated levels of radon in the buildings. The radon enters the buildings in soil gas via openings in the building foundation such as cracks in the concrete, sumps, etc. There are also cases, where groundwater contributes significantly to indoor radon levels. In this case, the radon enters the building in water used for cooking, washing dishes and laundry, showering, etc. Building materials can contribute to elevated radon levels, but are unlikely to be the primary source, or to be the cause of levels above the EPA guideline of 4 pCi/l.
There are many ways to deal with a radon problem, and not every method is suitable for every situation. For this reason, a professional radon mitigator should be consulted. See, for example, http://www.neha-nrpp.org/checklistforconsumers.shtml. In any case, some of the possible methods include sealing all apparent radon entry points, improved ventilation, and passive or active sub-slab depressurization. The first two listed methods are fairly self-explanatory. The third listed method involves making a hole in the basement or on-grade slab, running pipe from this hole to above the roof line (and away from potential re-entry points such as windows), and, in the case of the active system, adding a fan to draw air from under the slab (the fan must be located outside the house or in the attic). In the case of a dirt floor in a crawl space, a barrier of plastic sheeting would be put down and sealed to the foundation all around. It would then be treated the same as the concrete slab discussed previously. The main point to remember is that a trained, experienced professional mitigator would be best able to determine the best method or combination of methods to deal with a particular radon problem.
The Facts About Radon Gas – It’s Deadly