Naturally-occurring radioactive materials like radon have always surrounded homes but radon testing was only brought to the forefront 36 years ago after the “Watras Incident”.
In 1984, Stanley Watras, a construction engineer, walked in and set off the new radiation detectors at a nuclear construction site. His work wasn’t the problem. During the investigation, officials discovered that their family home in Pennsylvania had the highest amount of radioactivity, nearly 1000 times the safe limit for radon exposure.
He and his family then vacated the house temporarily as technicians installed radon mitigation systems.
How Radon Enters Your Home
Houses built on soils with high uranium content or high permeability usually have very high radon concentrations. From bedrock and groundwater, radon enters through wall cracks, showers, drainage and windows.
Radon concentration is measured either in becquerels per cubic meter (Bq/m3) or picocuries per litre (pCi/L). One Bq is equal to one disintegration per second and one pCi/L is equal to 37 Bq/m3.
In America, the average indoor radon concentration at home is about 1.3 pCi/L and if it reaches between 2 to 4 pCi/L, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends radon reduction systems.
In Canada, where no areas are “radon free”, they recommend long-term sampling (at least 3 months) for a more accurate reading. Acceptable radon level in “dwellings” is 200 Bq/m3.
Diagnosis and Mitigation Systems
Because radon is invisible and odourless, the only to know your radon exposure is to test for it. There are DIY kits in hardware stores or online but you can hire a professional tester for it.
The most common method of radon reduction is adding ventilation and suction by installing a vent pipe system and fan.
Sealing floors and walls is another method. Depending on the radon level and how your home is built, the method and cost varies. You can read more about mitigation methods here.
Health Effects of Radon
Radon is one of the leading causes of cancer, second to smoking. So if you smoke and live somewhere with a high radon level, your lung cancer risk is high.
Radon gas in the air can break into smaller particles which can stay on the lining of your lungs. These then give off radiation, damage cells and possibly lead to cancer.
Real-Time Radiation Monitoring
Having your home tested is the only way to know if you or your family is at risk of high radon exposure. It’s important to have a proactive approach to reduce the risk of long-term effects like lung cancer.
Looking for area radiation monitors or personal radiation monitoring devices? You can count on SensaWeb. With our monitors, you can easily detect and interdict radioactive materials. Connect with us here or our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call us at +61 415 409 467.