Archive for June, 2012
If you live anywhere in South Carolina, you should be familiar with the potential threat posed by high radon levels. That is why radon testing is usually a part of the process preceding a house purchase in this area. While radon is a natural byproduct of uranium in the soil breaking down, here in the Greenville area, it can also be created by the nuclear reactors that produce energy. Therefore, radon gas can be found all around this area, in the soil, the air and the water. It seeps up through the ground through cracks of any size in the foundation to enter and concentrate inside homes. Studies now show that living with high radon levels can be very harmful to your health.
What are the Effects of High Radon Levels?
Detecting radon requires specialized equipment since the gas is colorless and odorless. Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious side effects of breathing radon gas in enclosed spaces for a prolonged period of time. The risk it carries cannot be underestimated. In fact, only smoking causes more cases of lung cancer each year in the United States.
What Radon Levels are Too High?
Fortunately, testing for radon is easy. When an air sample is taken in the home, the amount of radon it contains is measured in “picocuries per liter of air,” or “pCi/L.” While it is known that prolonged exposure to radon can be harmful, even deadly, there is no established base guideline that is guaranteed to be safe. Not everyone responds to radon levels in the same way; a family might live in the same radon-contaminated house for years and only one member would develop lung cancer. However, as a general principle, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends that indoor radon levels be no higher than 4.0 pCi/L.
How Can You Protect Yourself from High Radon Levels?
Home radon test kits are easily available from most retail hardware stores, as well as online. They are created for a variety of time periods and with varying accuracies. Many people choose instead to have SWAT Environmental perform a professional test of their home’s radon levels, since its results will be more accurate and more quickly available.
In many cases, unfinished basements carry the greatest risk. They are generally partially or completely underground, allowing air to easily become trapped and stagnant. However, the entire house can then become contaminated with radon. If the radon test shows excessively high radon levels, SWAT Environmental’s radon experts will need to install specifically designed systems to eradicate them.
Preventing harm from radon levels generally requires a two-part campaign to remove the radon already in your house and to prevent additional radon from entering. By taking steps to ensure good air quality in your home, it is possible to lower your health risk and to enjoy living in the Greenville region.
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