The Silent Killer You Can’t Out Run

Breathe in…..breath out, you feel anything? No I didn’t think so, but do you think the 20,000 people that die each year feel anything? On top of things, how do you feel when none of us can see, smell or taste it? But it has been around since the turn of time, dating back before we even knew what it was.  What I am talking about is Radon Gas!!

buffalo nyWe deal with it on a daily basis in our work, cars and basically anywhere we go, even our homes. Radon gas is made up of Uranium which is found in all soil types. Uranium has a radiological half-life of more than 4.4 billion years; it remains in the soil for eons but eventually breaks down to radium. Radium is the most commonly found form and slowly breaks down over time and turns into radon in about 1600 years. Radium is the solid form of the eventual end product of Radon.

Unfortunately, many Americans don’t think about it until it’s too late or someone in their life is affected from radon. It is a radioactive gas that is the second leading cause for lung cancer. The worst part about it is as I said before: you can’t see, smell or taste it so you have no control over it. One of the biggest areas of concern is our home because the gas has nowhere to go; being in such a small area is just like turning the car on in the garage with the door closed. Radon gases may take a little longer but when the average American spends 60-70% of their day at their home or work the exposure level is much higher.  It is unfortunate most employers don’t look at this stuff but we really should in our own homes.

Avoiding radon is not altogether possible but we can make efforts to lower our exposure to it. The EPA recommends having levels lower than 4.0 pCi/l, most home are at this level or lower but in the last couple years Radon gas has been rising at an alarming rate especially in Buffalo NY. EPA recommends, even with a system in place, a yearly test is done.  If you don’t have a mitigation system in your home, a test should be performed every 6 months. On average 1 out of 6 homes has a high reading for radon. This gas that moves through soil and as we all know soil moves all the time which raises the level in our homes.  The gases get trapped inside which in turn raises our levels to an increasingly higher risk. The health effects can cause a range of different symptoms but in most cases when you show symptoms it is too late.

One of the first steps in making sure your home is Radon free is to start with performing a test in the home.  Going to the store and buying one can accomplish this; however, this isn’t recommended, as most of these tests are cheap but not as affective. The best thing to do is contact someone who handles radon testing and radon mitigation systems. The company’s professional will come over and set up the test and be able to provide a quote for the system to be installed, if needed. Most systems take less than half a day to install and cost between $800-1500 depending on the layout of the basement. There are different options for systems in your home, some go in the basement to the outside, some go though the garage and there is also the option of running it right into the walls of the home. The company that installs it will provide post-testing showing the levels are below the 4.0 pCi/l, but it is still recommended homeowners perform a yearly test. You can always go on the EPA website for listings of licensed companies and any questions or recommendations.  Contact us today for a free radon consultation