Radon Gas - Risk of Lung Cancer
Radon gas results from underground uranium, a radioactive element. The gas accumulates in basements and spreads from there into the living spaces. Presence of radon is an environmental matter and has little to do with the structural quality or the age of the house.
There is some level of radiation throughout the surface of the earth, so there is no such a thing as completely radiation free house. EPA has conducted a national study and found an outdoor average of 0.4 pCi/L, and a basement average of 1.4 pCi/L. EPA has also established that levels of 4.00 pCi/L or higher represent a high risk for lung cancer.
Why should we test for radon?
Health protection - it is a proven fact that breathing radioactive radon along the years results in lung cancer. There are means to remove radon from the house, once we know it is present. The other reason is location variability. The amount of radon present varies by neighborhood throughout Michigan and US, depending on the amount of uranium present underground. Once we know it is present at risk levels, we can proceed to remove it.
Methods of testing for radon
Charcoal test - indirect reader, relies on the impact alpha-radiation has on charcoal. Accuracy = 64%. Cost low.
Electret chamber - indirect reader, relies on the impact left by alpha-particles on a magnetic disk. Accuracy = 92%. Cost medium.
Geiger-Muller counter - the only direct radiation reader that exists, reads all types of radiation particles instantly. Accuracy = highest possible. Cost higher. We use only the direct reader for professional level results.
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