Any number of health hazards may present themselves in the modern American home, from molds that cause allergies to the fleas on rats or mice or squirrels that break in, not to mention the common hazard of dangerous carbon monoxide buildup. But there is another hazardous gas that may present itself in homes and pose a health risk, and that is radon. Invisible, odorless, and tasteless, this gas is impossible to detect with the human senses, but the danger is very real, and a home may spend years with a radon buildup and the homeowners will not even know it. For this reason, testing for radon is a great idea for any homeowner who may suspect a radon buildup, or any homeowner who simply wants to take precautions once they learn about the dangers of this gas and how it may present itself in homes. What can be done for radon gas testing, to find out if there is radon in your home? What symptoms may present themselves to cause a person to start testing for radon?
This heavy element sounds like something that would be confined to a science lab, but it occurs often in nature, and this gas wells up naturally from rocks and soil and can build up in the lowest levels of a building, such as the basement, and slowly make its way upwards, posing a serious health risk all the while. American health agencies have already recognized the danger. The Surgeon General, for example, has released a warning stating that radon is currently the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and the EPA also keeps track of his hazard. Right now, for example, it has been found that one out of 15 homes in the United States has radon levels at or above the EPA’s action level, so Americans are urged to start testing for radon to detect and remove this health hazard. This can save lives; scientists have estimated that 5,000 deaths can be prevented every year, and lung cancer death rats can be lowered by 2% to 4%, if radon levels in homes are reduced to below the EPA’s action level. What can be done to curb instances of this dangerous gas in homes?
Testing for Radon
It is easier than some may realize to start testing the home for radon and diagnose a case of dangerous gas build-up. Testing devices can be purchased online or at hardware stores once the customer asks for them, and these devices require no particular expertise to use; a homeowner can buy one, and then set it in a room where radon gas is suspected and turn it on. This device will collect air samples and check it for radon, and once the testing is complete, professional crews can collect that data and then inform the homeowners if there is enough radon in the home’s air to warrant action. A person may search online for a radon gas testing device or find local stores that stock them, with queries such as “radon testing Colorado” or “residential radon testing Boston MA.” The homeowner can then visit local hardware stores or find an online retailer that stocks and ships these devices.
Testing for radon means getting either a short term or a long term testing device and placing it in the home. Short term testing devices will check the air for up to 90 days, and although faster, this may result in slightly inaccurate data. For homeowners who believe that they have time to spare for a long term test, they can get a long-term testing device that measures the air for more than 90 days, and data will be collected later. If the readings show that dangerous levels of radon are found, then the homeowners can cycle all the air in the home, such as opening all doors and windows and using fans to blow out all the air, especially from the basement and lowest floors where the radon concentration will be strongest. When all the air has been cycled, the radon concentration in the home will be lowered well below the EPA’s action level, and a home will be free from the health hazards of this gas.