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Carbon Monoxide

Radon

Radon is a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas that is released in the soil. The amount of uranium in your soil determines the amount of radon released into the ground around your home. Any home can have elevated radon levels-it does not matter if a house is old or new or if it has a full basement, crawlspace, or slab-on-grade foundation. Radon levels can be very different, even in the same neighborhood, and one shouldn't assume their levels are high or low because a neighbor's levels are high or low. Most radon enters a dwelling through pressure and temperature differentials between the outdoor air and the indoor air. As air containing radon seeps into the home from cracks in the foundation, improperly sealed windows, or other structural inconsistencies, the air gets trapped inside. Over time and without proper ventilation bringing in fresh air, the radon levels in the home increase and puts the residents at risk. This is especially a problem in the winter months, when ventilation is at a minimum due to the colder temperatures.

Radon itself is not dangerous, but as it decays, the gas produces radiation in the form of microscopic particles that can cling to house dust or other airborne particles. Anything that “uses” or “pulls” the air in a house include running a furnace, bathroom or kitchen fan or clothes dryer.  Also, a fireplace can pull air from the house.  This air is replaced and often the replacement air comes through basement walls and floors, pulling soil gases, including radon, into the house.When high levels of these particles are inhaled, it causes serious health problems. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers, causing an estimated 15,400-21,800 lung cancer deaths annually. There is no way to know if you and your family are at risk unless there is a radon test conducted in your home. A radon level above 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) is the EPA’s recommended level for action. Both the radon level and the time exposure are main indicators of the health risk posed.