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Keeping Your Eye On Radon

Peace of mind knowing Radon is low

(Source: John McQuiggan

Radon (noun) - A naturally occurring gas that becomes dangerous during real estate transactions.

Pardon the attempt at humor on a serious topic. The fact is, many people only think about radon when buying or selling a house. But the radioactive gas poses a danger 24-7 and all year long. Are you protecting yourself and your family?

In case you haven’t heard, radon causes an estimated 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States every year. Only smoking causes more lung cancer, and the risk from radon is far greater for people who smoke or used to smoke.

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Radon Mitigation Improves Indoor Air Quality and Radiation Protection

Radon

(Source: Bob Molton)

Should you test your home for radon gas? The only answer is YES! Why? Because radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and reducing your risk is easy.

You cannot see, smell, or taste radon. However, it still may be a problem in your home. The only way to know for sure if you have a problem is if you run a simple radon test in your home. Most radon test kits are performed over a 48 hour time span, and usually up to a week for the results to come back from the lab. There are quicker ways to test your home, such as using and electronic testing device. These methods are more expensive, and provide the same results as the 48 hour canisters do. If you have the extra time it's advisable to use the simple canister test kits. You can these at your local hardware store.

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Radon Causes Lung Cancer

Radon causes lung cancer

Probably the most dangerous part of radon gas is you cannot see it.  You also cannot smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home.  As the only gas in the decay chains of radioactive heavy metals, radon and its floating radioactive products can easily get into human body by inhalation.  Whenever you breathe in air containing radon, it increases your risk of getting lung cancer.  The National Academy of Sciences and the Environment Protection Agency (2003) estimate that in the U.S., radon in homes causes 21,100 lung cancer deaths each year.

Radiation is called the "complete carcinogen" because, unlike chemical carcinogens, it alone can initiate, promote and propagate cancer.  The primary site of radioactive exposure to most people is their home. The average person receives a higher radiation dose from radon at home than from all other natural or man-made sources combined.

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A Scientific Description of Radon

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PROPERTIES: Radon is a gaseous highly radioactive element discovered by English physicist Ernest Rutherford in 1899. The discovery is also credited to German physicist Friedrich Ernst Dorn in 1900. More specifically, Rutherford discovered radon's alpha radiation and Dorn discovered that radium was releasing a gas.

Representation of rn-222 atomRadon is a colorless chemically-unreactive inert gas. The atomic radius is 1.34 angstroms and it is the heaviest known gas--radon is nine times denser than air. Because it is a single atom gas (unlike oxygen, O2, which is comprised of two atoms) it easily penetrates many common materials like paper, leather, low density plastic (like plastic bags, etc.) most paints, and building materials like gypsum board (sheetrock), concrete block, mortar, sheathing paper (tarpaper), wood paneling, and most insulations.

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