If you have ever bought a property or been present at a survey you will probably have heard of radon gas. It is a natural gas but is radioactive. The gas has no color, taste and no obvious aroma. This means that it cannot be detected unless you use specialist equipment.
You may be surprised to know that radioactive substances, such as uranium, decompose very slowly. As they decompose they release radon gas. The higher the levels of radon gas in an area the more decaying radiation is present.
Where Do You Find Radon
As Uranium and Thorium decay they provide the two main sources of Radon gas. However, these two radioactive elements are actually the two most common ones on Earth; they will both take billions of years to decay. Radon gas itself does not have a very long life, but, it is constantly being generated by Uranium and Thorium.
Surprisingly it is very easy to absorb radon gas into your body just by breathing. This is partly because it is a gas and partly because it is available in abundance. It is worth noting that it is a dense gas and will generally stay close to the ground or even below ground. This means that basements and any other spaces under buildings are the highest risk areas.
You can find high concentrations of Radon in one area and just a few minute’s drive away low concentrations or none at all.
Unfortunately absorbing high levels of radon gas has been linked with an increased likelihood of lung cancer. Research suggests that it is the decaying radon that actually causes cancerous cells. As radon decays it produces solid pieces of radon which are deemed to be far more dangerous than the gas itself.
What is Radon Mitigation?
Radon mitigation is the term used to describe anything which reduces the amount of radon or the risk of radon poisoning. There are several things which can classify as radon mitigation:
You can hire a small unit which tests for radiation or even buy one. They will fit into the palm of your hand. Alternatively you can get a specialist firm to come into your home and complete a survey.
The detectors can be put in your basement or lowest point of your home and you will be provided with a record of the radon gas levels for each day, week and month it has been operating. To ensure the test is accurate you must follow the instructions provided.
One of the simplest ways to remove radon gas from your home is to install a vent pipe and a fan. This will push the heavy gas out of your home and into the air above your home. This air will quickly dilute the radon gas dramatically reducing any risk
It is possible to place a plastic sheet on the top of the floor and the vent pipe and fan under this. This has been described as the most effective method for radon mitigation and should be considered if you find you have excess amounts of radon gas.