Radon is the #1 cause of cancer after smoking and kills more than 21,000 Americans every year. Radon is radiation and like all other forms of radiation, is completely invisible. Radon can cause extensive cell damage and creates the mutated cells that turn into cancer. Many families are living in homes with radiation levels that exceed the EPA’s allowable limits for Nuclear Power Facilities and are unknowingly being exposed to higher radiation doses than hundreds of chest x-rays every year!
BUYING A HOME
If you’re buying a home, be sure to have it tested as part of the inspection process. You’ll want to hire a Certified Radon Specialist that uses a Continuous Radon Monitor or Electronic Radon Monitor instead of the kits. These monitors provide hour to hour readings to detect tampering and insure that all required testing conditions are met. If you find a real estate agent that cares enough about you and your family to recommend a radon test, you’ve found a true professional, a real gem and worth recommending to everyone you know.
WHAT DO THE RESULTS MEAN?
As you already know, radon is radiation so you want to be exposed to as little of it as possible. Radon in outside air varies from 0.2 to 1.0 pCi/L. The average house in America is 1.3 to 1.5 pCi/L. The World Health Organization reccomends a maximum level of 2.7 pCi/L. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that, “If your home is above 4.0 pCi/L, fix it. If your home is between 2.0 and 3.9 pCi/L, seriously consider fixing it.” Remember that 4 pCi/L is not considered safe, it is considered the maximum level you should have (according to the EPA).
COMPARING APPLES TO APPLES
If you live in a home for 1 year that has exactly 4.0 pCi/L then your radiation exposure is the same as 200 chest x-rays per year. This is based on time exposed so if you are only home half the time, cut the amount of x-rays in half. If your radon level is twice that amount, then double the number of x-rays.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires all nuclear power plants to put fences around each facility at a distance far enough away so that a person standing at the fence line will not receive any more radiation than 25 mRem. They use the same formula for around nuclear waste sites. That’s a lot of “ticks” on a Geiger counter and a house with 4 pCi/L is worse than that! Just because you can’t see the radiation doesn’t mean it’s not there.
X-ray technicians wear lead aprons and stand as far away as possible. Take the same approach by either reducing the amount of radon in your home or stay away from home as much as possible. It’s usually much easier just to have the radon problem fixed.