Archive for April, 2012
Why are high radon levels dangerous?
Radon is a radioactive element that commonly exists in a gaseous form. Radon gas is a byproduct of the natural decay of the uranium found in certain rocks and soils. Common types of rocks that may contain radon are limestone, shale, granite and igneous rocks. In particular, the breakdown of rocks and soils near flowing water can release radon gas into the air. Basements built near rock beds that have underground streams running through them are at the highest risk for accumulating harmful radon levels.
High radon levels are very hazardous to human health because radon gas is a carcinogen — a cancer-causing agent. Radon has been linked to many cases of lung cancer in the past. In fact, radon gas is considered to be the top cause of lung cancer in the United States after smoking.
Radon gas is a silent killer, much like the infamous carbon monoxide. Both gases exhibit neither a color nor a smell, leading many people to unknowingly expose themselves to their harmful effects. The lowest floor of a home generally contains the highest concentrations of radon gas, especially if that floor is located below ground-level. Poorly-ventilated basements can gradually become radon gas chambers without your knowledge.
What are average radon levels in Kalamazoo, Michigan?
The average indoor radon concentration in Kalamazoo, Michigan is about 3.5 pCi/L. Compared to the national average reading of about 1.3 pCi/L, excess radon levels are a fairly common problem in the Kalamazoo area. Approximately 38 percent of Kalamazoo homes contain radon levels under 2.0 pCi/L. Unfortunately, 32 percent show readings between 2.0 and 3.9 pCi/L, and 30 percent contain radon levels of 4.0 pCi/L or higher, which can be extremely dangerous. In light of these statistics, if you own a home in the Kalamazoo area, you should have SWAT Environmental specialists check your radon levels, and if necessary take steps to decrease them.
What can I do to lower radon levels in my home?
There are many ways to reduce radon gas concentrations in a home. A common term used to describe the overall processes of radon gas reduction is “mitigation.” Many radon mitigation procedures involve either increasing the ventilation in the home, especially on the lowest floor, or sealing cracks in the walls of the structure to prevent radon gas from seeping in.
One common mitigation method suctions radon gas from under the home and shoots it away through air vents. Another radon reduction method involves installing custom ventilation fans at strategic locations in the home to keep radon gas from entering, and to circulate fresh air back in.
There are many options available for decreasing the radon levels in a house. What works best for one home may not be the ideal choice for another, so contact SWAT Environmental’s professionals for more details on reducing your home’s radon levels.
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