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What Is Radon? - Des Moines Radon

What is Radon?

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. Radon gas comes from the natural breakdown of Uranium in the rocks and soil. Radon is detectable in the outdoor air and can move into indoor air, surface water, and ground water. According to the Surgeon General, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. The Surgeon General and the EPA recommend testing for radon and reducing radon in homes that have high levels.

How are people exposed to Radon?

Radon gas can enter buildings and homes through many areas. For example, cracks in floors or walls; gaps in the foundations around wires, pipes, or pumps; or constructions joints. In the basement or crawl space, radon levels are usually the highest because that level is closest to the rock and soil.

Radon gas is measured most commonly using picocuries per liter (pCi/L). According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average indoor radon level is about 1.3 pCi/L. Action should be taken to lower radon levels in the home if the level reaches 4.0 pCi/L or higher. It is estimated by the EPA that nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States may have elevated radon levels.

How can I reduce my exposure to Radon?

When it comes to reducing the radon level in your home, there is a variety of methods which can be used. A couple methods include sealing cracks in floors and walls, increasing ventilation or through “sub-slab depressurization” using pipes and fans. Without the proper equipment or technical knowledge, your radon level could increase or create other potential hazards. Therefore, the EPA recommends you have a qualified contractor fix your home. Lowering radon levels requires special skills and specific technical knowledge.

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