Friday, December 30, 2011

Radon in the home can be a real health hazard

All homes contain some radon gas, experts say.
Health officials warn that all homes contain some radon gas, which could be a health risk for many people.

The radon levels depend on several factors, including
  • Soil characteristics
  • Geographic location
  • A home’s construction type
  • Condition of the foundation
  • Weather

What is radon?

Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that is produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water.

The United Nation's World Health Organization (WHO) says that radon is a worldwide health risk in homes.

Dr. Maria Neira of WHO said that "Most radon-induced lung cancers occur from low and medium dose exposures in people's homes. Radon is the second most important cause of lung cancer after smoking in many countries."

What to do about radon

Health officials everywhere advise all homeowners to test their environment for radon.

There are a number of testing kits available, including Alpha Track, Electret Ion Chamber, Continuous Monitors and Charcoal Detectors.

Most radon test kits have to be sent to the laboratory for analysis after the testing period, which ideally would take as long as three months, since the radon levels in a home can vary over time.

Once you know the average radon level in your home, you can take steps to mitigate the problem.

Source: Health Canada, EPA

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