Just to be clear, this is not what I usually talk about.
But like EMFs it’s a silent, invisible killer.
And it’s commonly found in many homes.
I’m talking about Radon.
Never heard of it?
To be honest, it’s only something that I was vaguely aware of until very recently.
Surprisingly, radon and its decay products are the cause of 50% of the total radiation dose from natural sources.
Here are the facts, which I’ve gleaned from a report drawn up by the talented people at http://www.powerwatch.org.uk
Facts About Radon
Radon is a rare radioactive gas and is commonly found in many homes.
Radon is considered the second cause of lung cancer and the first in those who have never smoked.
In the USA, the results of the 1992 EPA National Radon Survey estimated that 1 in 15 homes (about 5.8 million) had an elevated radon level.
Radon-induced lung cancer costs the United States over $2 billion dollars per year in both direct and indirect health care costs (Based on National Cancer Institute statistics of 14,400 annual radon lung cancer deaths – Oster, Colditz & Kelley, 1984).
Ex-smokers risk of developing lung cancer as a result of radon exposure is 5 to 7 times higher than that of non-smokers.
Not just lung cancer but certain facial tumors and leukemia are linked to residential radon exposure.
Alpha particle emissions from inhaled radon decay products, and not radon itself, cause lung cancer.
In Canada, the average radon concentration is more than double the worldwide indoor radon concentration.
Here’s a link to the Powerwatch report, which I recommend you read.
Where is Radon Found ?
It’s found in many homes because it’s present in building materials. One of the most important indoor pollutants is radon from soils and building materials. It can be found in the building sub-soil and the soil near the house and in granite stone.
It can be found in public workplaces in basements and ground floor levels and in rooms with concrete flooring. Studies have also found it in schools and nurseries.
The EPA offers examples of where radon can enter a building:
- Cracks in solid floors
- Cracks in walls
- Construction joints
- Gaps in suspended floors
- Gaps around service pipes
- Cavities inside walls
- Water supply
What Can You Do To Protect Yourself ?
Like EMFs radon can be measured quite easily with a meter or monitor. A digital radon monitor can be used to take readings. It measures the Alpha particles from the gas.
Monitor is the more appropriate term for this device because you would use it to measure radon gas in your environment over a period of a day, a week, or longer. So you switch the monitor on and leave it in a room for a few days.
What Are Safe Levels Of Radon?
It’s a bit like with EMFs, it’s not black and white. The EPA states, “no level of radon is safe”. But it also states radon readings “if the radon levels are 4 pCi/L or higher then you need to call in a qualified radon contractor. The EPA recommends the use of radon remediation professionals because, “Lowering high radon levels requires technical knowledge and special skills. You should use a contractor who is trained to fix radon problems.”