Archive for June, 2012
Radon is an odorless gas that is produced by decaying uranium underground. The gas is safe outdoors, but can leak into your home and build to dangerously high concentrations. Radon gas is only second to smoking as a cause of lung cancer. If you live in the radon-prone Bethlehem, Pennsylvania area, you can protect your home from radon gas through testing and radon abatement.
Why is Radon Abatement Important?
Testing to determine radon levels is recommended by the Surgeon General and the Environmental Protection Agency for all homes within the United States. This is the only way to ensure that the amount of radon within a home is below a harmful level, since radon gas cannot be detected otherwise. The EPA has established three zone levels to identify areas with the highest possibility of radon gas. The central and eastern portions of the United States have been designated as areas with the highest typical concentration of radon gas. In addition, Bethlehem is located in a level one zone, which has one of the highest averages for radon. The EPA recommends radon abatement procedures be implemented if a house’s levels are higher than 4.0 pCi/L; the average for homes in Bethlehem is actually above that level.
Radon Abatement and Testing in Your Home
Testing for radon is a straightforward process that can be completed within a fairly short period of time. The testing must take place on the lowest level of your home and requires a specialized charcoal canister that will collect radon gas from your home. During the testing, the windows and doors must be kept closed for a period of 12 to 24 hours. Once the test has been completed, the canister will be sent to a lab to measure the radon it has collected. Home radon test kits are available, but you may prefer to rely on SWAT Environmental’s specialists for more accurate results. Accurate testing is essential to determine if radon abatement is required.
Installing a Radon Abatement System
If the testing does report radon levels above 4.0 pCi/L, radon abatement must begin immediately. If you have not done so already, contact SWAT Environmental; their specialists can determine the ideal system to reduce the amount of radon in your home. For example, one commonly used method requires the contractors to drill within the basement floor and excavate the area to install a mitigation pump on the lower level of your home. The pump will remove the gases from the ground and route them outdoors.
The abatement process may become somewhat more complicated if the lower level is a crawlspace. The radon abatement specialist will be able to identify any additional or unique measures that need to be taken inspecting your home. Contacting an expert ensures that both the testing and the radon abatement system installation are performed accurately. Most importantly, it ensures that you protect the health of your family by having the radon gas removed from your home.
- Bethlehem, PA, 18018 USA
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What is Radon and What Causes High Radon Levels in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania?
Radon is a radioactive gas that can be found across the United States. Through a natural process, uranium decays, forming radon as a side effect. The gas is completely undetected by the human eye. You cannot smell radon or taste it. Researchers estimate that up to 30,000 deaths caused by lung cancer each year are due to exposure to high radon levels.
How Do High Radon Levels Affect Your Health?
After cigarette smoking, exposure to high radon levels is the leading cause of lung cancer in the nation. This risk increases the higher the radon levels in your home and the more radon gas you breathe into your lungs. When the particles of this radon break down, tiny amounts of energy are released. The tissue in your lungs can be damaged each time a particle releases this energy. Over an extended period of time, a constant barrage of particles damages your lungs and raises your risk of lung cancer. If you smoke and have high radon levels in your home, you are at an even greater risk of getting lung cancer.
How Can You Tell If Your Home Contains High Radon Levels?
There are testing kits that you can use yourself to determine if you have high radon levels in your home. If the home you move in to is a rental, ask the landlord for the radon test results. If you own your own home, however, you will have to take responsibility for testing its radon levels yourself. You can accomplish this with a home radon testing kit if you wish, although a professional test from SWAT Environmental will be more convenient and accurate. This test will tell you whether further steps are necessary to protect your family from elevated radon levels.
How Should You Deal with High Radon Levels?
High radon levels inside a home, while dangerous, are an easily correctable problem. If the home is a rental unit, ask your landlord or building owner to repair the building. Put the request in writing and include your test results. Most home or building owners are required to maintain the structure and keep it “habitable.” The state radon office can support property owners by giving them information on how to reduce or eliminate poor indoor air quality, including from high radon levels. If you are the homeowner, you will need to hire SWAT Environmental to reduce your house’s radon levels. The specific techniques required to accomplish this will vary somewhat from house to house; SWAT’s experts will be able to design the optimal system for your house to both deal with the radon gas already in your home, and to prevent it from returning.
On the one hand, high radon levels in your house are a very serious problem that you should not take lightly. But on the other hand, a few preventative measures employed in advance can keep the issue from harming you or your family.