A decaying interest in radon

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Testing for radon seems scary but it’s no different than any home repair.

Being exposed to radon doesn’t mean you’ll get lung cancer.It’s not as dangerous as smoking. However, radon is radioactive.It shoots off alpha particles (helium without the electrons) and this can harm you if you breathe it in. Enough assault and your lungs could develop cancer. That’s why I’m getting it out of my basement and out of my life.

Radon comes from beneath the soil. When the earth formed, heavier elements–those that are unstable and decay along with others such as gold, silver, and lead–settled lower in the earth than the lighter ones–carbon, nitrogen, etc.  In fact, the earth’s core is hot because it is a nuclear reactor. The sun isn’t enough to keep the earth as warm as we need it to be. We need this reactor to keep the earth from being cold and barren.  However, we don’t need this “hot” stuff at the surface. When soil is disrupted, a variety of radioactive materials can be released. Being a gas, radon can easily travel into our homes.

You can have a new house and have radon.

You can have an old house and have radon.

You can have a home built on a slope and have radon. You can have a home not on a slope and have radon, too.

You can have a walk-out basement and have radon.

You can have no basement and have radon. (If you have a house on stilts, you probably will have less radon.)

You can fill in a basement and have radon.

You can knock a house down, fill in the basement, put a slab over it, build a new structure, and have radon. This process disturbs the soil a lot.

Earthquakes can change the level of radon in your home.

Radon levels are often higher in the winter, during droughts, and on windy days.

Wells can bring radon into your home.

Homes in the same neighborhood can have different levels of radon.

Opening windows can help radon escape, but more will enter without remediation.

Radon is a problem in Iowa. (Pennsylvania and the Appalachian region also have high levels.) Many people have not tested because the danger wasn’t understood until around 1985 and this makes it seem like just one more thing to be scared about. There are no laws that require testing for it. But please do test. order a test kit

January is radon awareness month. It’s time to close this month and close out the radon in my basement.

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The last step in radon mitigation is sending in a final sample.

 

 

 

 

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