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What is Radon?

Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. You can't see it, smell it, or taste it. It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils.

Living with Radon:

Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels. Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in your state. Contact your EPA state radon office for general information or view a map of your area http://www.epa.gov/radon/zonemap.html. While radon problems may be more common in some areas, any home may have a problem. The only way to know about your home is to test.

Health Effects of Living with Radon:

The U. S. Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, has issued a Health Advisory warning Americans about the health risk from exposure to radon in indoor air. The Nation’s Chief Physician urged Americans to test their homes to find out how much radon they might be breathing. Dr. Carmona also stressed the need to remedy the problem as soon as possible when the radon level is 4 pCi/L or more. Dr. Carmona noted that more than 20,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer each year.

Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. As they break down further, these particles release small bursts of energy. This can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime. Not everyone exposed to elevated levels of radon will develop lung cancer. And the amount of time between exposure and the onset of the disease may be many years.

Like other environmental pollutants, there is some uncertainty about the magnitude of radon health risks. However, we know more about radon risks than risks from most other cancer-causing substances. This is because estimates of radon risks are based on studies of cancer in humans (underground miners).

Smoking combined with radon is an especially serious health risk. Stop smoking and lower your radon level to reduce your lung cancer risk.

Children have been reported to have greater risk than adults of certain types of cancer from radiation, but there are currently no conclusive data on whether children are at greater risk than adults from radon.

Your chances of getting lung cancer by radon depend mostly on:

• How much radon is in your home
• The amount of time you spend in your home
• Whether you are a smoker or have ever smoked

U.S. EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes

In June 2003, the EPA revised its risk assessment for radon exposure in homes. EPA estimates that about 21,000 annual lung cancer deaths are radon related. EPA also concluded that the effects of radon and cigarette smoking are synergistic, so that smokers are at higher risk from radon. EPA's revised estimates are based on the National Academy of Sciences 1999 BEIR IV (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) Report which concluded that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

How Does Radon Get Into Your Home?

It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.

Radon from soil gas is the main cause of radon problems. Sometimes radon enters the home through well water. In a small number of homes, the building materials can give off radon, too. However, building materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves.

Radon in Water

There are two main sources for the radon in your home's indoor air, the soil and the water supply. Compared to radon entering the home through water, radon entering your home through the soil is usually a much larger risk.

The radon in your water supply poses an inhalation risk and an ingestion risk. Research has shown that your risk of lung cancer from breathing radon in air is much larger than your risk of stomach cancer from swallowing water with radon in it. Most of your risk from radon in water comes from radon released into the air when water is used for showering and other household purposes.

Radon in your home's water is not usually a problem when its source is surface water. A radon in water problem is more likely when its source is ground water, e.g. a private well or a public water supply system that uses ground water. If you are concerned that radon may be entering your home through the water and your water comes from a public water supply, contact your water supplier.

Make inquiries about radon testing or to request a bid contact us.

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