Posts Tagged ‘cancer’
Why Does Radon Gas Occur in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania?
Radon contamination occurs in many cities and towns throughout the United States. Unfortunately, if you live in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, then you reside in one of the cities that have a greater risk of having radon contamination pollute indoor air. You can’t taste, see, or smell radon, so you won’t even know if your Bethlehem, Pennsylvania home is contaminated unless you get it checked by a radon mitigation specialist or purchase the equipment to do so yourself.
A known carcinogenic or cancer-causing substance, radon occurs when uranium that is present in the ground breaks down. As radon builds up beneath the earth’s surface, it builds up and searches for a way out. Eventually, radon reaches the earth’s surface and exits through the ground into the open atmosphere or through a building’s structure into its interior. Present in many Bethlehem, Pennsylvania locations, radon enters residential homes through cracks that exist in the foundation or basement walls. It can also enter through openings where the utilities enter the building or through the ground water supply.
Studies Indicate that Radon Gas May Cause Skin Cancer as well as Lung Cancer
Several studies have already provided results that show a causal link between radon exposure and lung cancer. However, a recent study performed by researchers connected to the European Centre for Environment & Human Health have shown that exposure to radon may also lead to skin cancer. In particular, the study suggested that higher than normal levels of radon in homes located in southwestern England may be responsible for a higher incidence of non-malignant skin cancer. More studies are recommended before any firm conclusions can be drawn.
Previous Head Coach for Penn State University, Joe Paterno, Diagnosed with Lung Cancer
The world has known for years that residential radon can lead to the development of lung cancer. In particular, it causes non-small cell lung cancer, a treatable form of the disease that is also referred to as epithelial lung cancer, NSCLC, squamous cell carcinoma, large cell lung cancer, and adenocarcinoma. Recently, the head football coach (Joe Paterno) for Penn State University was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer shortly after being fired by the school. Paterno is scheduled to undergo treatment for his lung cancer, which is considered treatable.
Radon Mitigation in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
If you live in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, you should have your home tested for the presence of radon. If the levels are determined to be higher than what the EPA suggests are safe, you should arrange to have radon mitigation strategies implemented to eliminate this radioactive gas from your home. One of the most effective radon mitigation strategies is the active soil depressurization method. This particular radon mitigation strategy equalizes the pressure between a residential building and the ground beneath it in order to eliminate the vacuum that sucks in the radon vapors. Once radon mitigation has taken place, the home should no longer pose a threat to the residents as far as radon exposure is concerned.
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What Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Homeowners Should Know About the Risks of Radon
The Radon Division of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Radiation Protection urges every homeowner to test his or her residence for radon. This invisible gas—the inevitable product of underground radium and uranium decay—goes undetected without a short-term or long-term test being properly performed. If your Bethlehem home has indoor radon above EPA-recommended levels, you may be at serious risk for lung cancer.
The Danger of Radon in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
More than 20,000 Americans die each year from radon-related lung cancer. Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regard levels below 4 picocuries per liter (the standard measure of radioactivity) serious enough to demand immediate action, levels as low as 2 pCi/L are estimated to lead to lung cancer in 4 out of every 1,000 people. Indoor radon is the primary cause of lung cancer deaths in the United States for people who do not smoke. For smokers, radon is the second cause of lung cancer deaths.
Uranium, which decays into radium which further decays into radon, is present in the rock and soil throughout the United States, though it varies in concentration from region to region. Radon is constantly being emitted into the air, but outdoors it quickly becomes diluted and rendered harmless. Once it is trapped under a structure, however, it rises to dangerous levels and often infiltrates both residential and commercial buildings. The great majority of Pennsylvania counties have a high potential for indoor radon levels of 4 pCi/L or greater.
Finding out whether your Bethlehem, Pennsylvania home is safe from radon is relatively simple. You can either hire a professional radon mitigation service to test your home or take the do-it-yourself route by purchasing a radon detection kit from a local home improvement or hardware store. The DIY kits come with explicit instructions on where to place the test, how long to leave it there, and who to send it to for analysis once the testing period (usually 4 to 7 days) is over. If you choose to hire a professional to test your home, make sure he or she is properly certified. Under Pennsylvania law, anyone besides the homeowner or resident performing a radon detection test must have both a valid certificate from the Department of Environmental Protection and a current DEP picture ID.
Handling Radon in Your Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Home
Once you have received your test results, you will be better able to make the determination of whether or not to proceed to the next step. If your home tests positive for high levels of radon, both the EPA and the Pennsylvania Radon Division strongly encourage you to seek radon mitigation. Depending on the construction of your home, radon mitigation may be a quick fix or require a more complex solution. Often, simply sealing cracks in concrete substructures is required. In other cases, you may need to install a sub-slab depressurization system, a pipe and fan system that removes radon from the basement or crawl space under the house and vents it to the open air above the home. Almost all solutions for radon mitigation are economical considering the positive impact they have on your family’s health.