Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment. It’s released from soil and rocks that contain uranium. When the uranium decays, it turns into radium, and then the radium breaks down into a gas called radon. In most cases, radon in the air, soil, and water are found in small enough amounts that they’re not harmful. However, some homes have higher concentrations of radon, which requires professional radon mitigation in Plainfield, IL. Here’s what you need to know about radon in your home and how you can keep it at a safe level with a radon mitigation system.
Dangers of Radon
As mentioned, exposure to small amounts of radon is typically harmless, but if the exposure is high and prolonged, health begins to suffer significantly. Radon that’s inhaled goes into the lining of the lungs and then releases its radiation. Exposure to radiation long-term is known to cause lung cancer, and radon exposure is actually the second leading cause of lung cancer behind cigarette smoking. Living in a home with high levels of radon as well as having a smoking habit substantially increases the risk of developing lung cancer. There are suspicions that exposure to radon may also cause other types of cancer, but the evidence isn’t as conclusive as to that for lung cancer.
Sources of Radon Exposure
Since radon occurs naturally in the environment, you can be subjected to high levels of exposure depending on the makeup of the soil your home is built on and in. Basements and crawl spaces are areas that typically trap radon and have higher concentrations because they’re closer to the ground. Cracks in the foundation or any openings for plumbing or wires can also allow radon into your home. There are also building materials that could potentially be a source of radon. These sources are far less than soil or rocks around your home, but some concrete or granite materials can give off a small amount of radon. Some people that use well water may also be exposed to radon because the water system isn’t subjected to the same monitoring as public water supplies. Water containing radon may release radon into your home anytime you use a tap.
Symptoms of Radon Poisoning
Unfortunately, symptoms of radon poisoning are generally unnoticeable until you’re suffering from the effects of lung cancer. Radon exposure can go unnoticed for years because the symptoms are virtually nonexistent until the exposure has been prolonged. Early signs of lung cancer from radon poisoning include shortness of breath, wheezing, a nagging cough, chest pain, coughing up blood, or other major changes to your health. It’s important to identify a radon problem in your home early to avoid these major health consequences.
Testing Your Home
Since radon doesn’t cause any problems until at least five years of exposure, typically, it’s important to have your home tested. There are short-term tests that will measure radon levels for just a few days, but radon levels can fluctuate widely, so it’s generally suggested to have long-term testing done. These tests monitor radon levels for 90 days or more.
Radon levels higher than four picocuries per liter are considered high and warrant radon mitigation system installation in Plainfield, IL. These systems should only be installed professionally because they can be complicated. They may involve sealing the foundation, improving ventilation, and suctioning and venting radon away from the home. To have your radon mitigation system installed, contact Will County Radon Mitigation today.