- Frequent Asked Question 1. What is Radon Gas? Answer: Radon gas is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that seeps up through the soil. So, you cannot physically sense it. Radon is also radioactive. A class “A” carcinogen (the worst kind).
- Here is a link to the EPA’s Radon Gas page https://www.epa.gov/radiation/where-does-radon-gas-come
- Frequent Asked Question 2. Why is Radon Gas dangerous? Answer: Radon is dangerous when you breathe it into the lungs and it goes through its decay process. Lung tissue is damaged along with DNA. Imagine a few little microscopic explosions going off inside your lungs every day. Now, multiply that every day, every week, month, and year. See where I’m going? How long have you lived at your present location and previous ones? How many hours have worked at your job? There are no symptoms of Radon Gas poisoning. Once you have developed a symptom it may be too late. The damage to your lungs is irreversible. Unlike someone who quits smoking, where the tissue may improve over time. This is why it is so important to test.
- Frequent Asked Question 3. If exposed to elevated Radon will I get lung cancer? Answer: Maybe, no, yes? It depends on a number of factors. How susceptible is your body to Radon? Compare it to smoking. Some smoke for many years and live a long life. Others, not so much. It depends on rate and length of exposure.
- Frequent Asked Question 4. How are people exposed to Radon Gas? Answer: Radon is all around us in the air. Outside the levels are minimal. The issue is when you spend time inside. Each building is different. It essentially is pulled up from the soil because of the vacuum effect of the building. Radon actually passes through concrete slabs (because they are porous). It will be higher on the lower floors and dissipate as it moves up into the higher floors. When windows are open it will be near outside air levels, on that floor or in that room. But, doing that can greatly raise levels on the floors below. The levels can be different building to building, even if they look exactly the same. Source strength can be different section to section also. This is why one test doesn’t tell the whole story of a building.
- Frequent Asked Question 5. How long is a Radon test? Answer: A Radon test has to be a minimum of 48 hours and go as long as a year. For our purposes tests normally last 48 – 72 hours. An independent lab analyses the tests once they receive them. I compile all the information and prepare the report for the client.
- Question 6. What is Radon’s life span? Answer: Radon Gas has a half life of 3.8 days. The daughter products (what Radon attaches to that you breath in) is about 30 minutes.
- Frequent Asked Question 7. Can’t the lowest level slab just be sealed and fix the issue? Answer: It would be great if that were the case. And, if that did work there would be no need for Radon system. Ask the question, can water get into the building through seepage, leaks or flooding? If it can then Radon can get in 10,000 times easier because the molecule is that small. If there is a source of Radon and a vacuum effect on the building Radon will get in, even if you seal things up. It is also impossible to seal everything 100%. I have had customers try in the past, spending quite a bit of money and time, and they did a great job. Unfortunately, we put in Radon systems for them after more testing was conducted.
- Frequent Asked Question 8. Is the Radon threat a new thing? I just haven’t heard a lot about it. Answer: Scientists have known about the dangers of Radon for quite some time. Madam Curie who most have heard of, discovered Radium, which is a solid. Radon is a gas. If you look on the periodic table of elements Radon is number 86, with an atomic weight of 222. People who worked in mines would have a higher case of Lung Cancer. I am sure the dust did not help either. It wasn’t until the 1950’s when they knew Radon could enter a home, but did not think it could add up to much. 1984 was the year we found out that Radon could actually be a threat to our health in our own homes or buildings where we spend time. A man by the name of Stanley Watras set off alarms in a non functioning nuclear power plant that was under construction. They traced the exposure back to his home. Ever since then the EPA and other organizations have conducted a large volume of research on how to test for Radon and fix buildings that have elevated levels.
- Frequent Asked Question 9. Who is your typical customer? Answer: Our customers are companies that might be refinancing a HUD property. Or, maybe they are building or outright purchasing a HUD property. These properties need to be tested during these transactions and every five years after. Also, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac just passed laws requiring testing of those federally financed properties. Military barracks and office buildings needs to be tested. Then there are government buildings where government employees work. Public and private schools need to be tested. University class rooms and dorms need to be tested. Finally, all businesses need to be tested. This is all to ensure that the work place and places where military and college students live are safe regarding Radon gas.
Here is a picture of an Alpha Trac Radon test. The disc is hard plastic. The black dots that are created by making dents when particles of Radon hit the disc. A lab reads the hits with a computerized microscope. If Radon can damage a plastic disc, imagine what it can do to the interior of a lung?
A typical building showing how Radon can move through the soil and can enter a building.