Radon Gas Symptoms That Could Kill You

Any old basement could harbor radon gas. Your first symptom to radon gas exposure could be a diagnosis of lung canter.

Radon is a basic element like lead, uranium or chlorine that appears on the Periodic Table. This element is radioactive and a tasteless and colorless glass. But unlike a lot of other elements that appear on the Periodic Table, this one has a half-life of less than four days.
So why do we have to worry about radon accumulating in our basements and harming us? Here’s the problem with radon. It is found worldwide and easily inhaled by the human lung. Radon gas is heavier than air so it tends to accumulate in building basements, both homes and commercial buildings. The molecular weight of air, which is a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen and other gases is 28.97 grams per mole. The molecular weight of radon gas is 222.01 grams per mole, which is more than seven times the weight of air, so you can see why this gas will settle in a basement or mine shaft at the lowest possible level of a space.

Radon Link to Lung Cancer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that there is a clear link between levels of radon gas and the levels of lung cancer in humans. The EPA has estimated that radon gas is the second biggest factor in lung cancer cases after cigarette smoking. It says that 21,000 people a year in the U.S. die from lung cancer caused by radon gas.
That’s why radon gas poisoning is critical to combat in our homes. Today, we need to be aware of radon gas in basements of our homes. Here is another issue: we said that radon has a super-fast half-life of less than four days, but the problem is, as radon transforms into other elements, it becomes other radioactive products called “daughters.”
Unlike the original radon gas, these daughters, also radioactive, don’t become a gas but rather a radioactive solid. Where do they go? They stay in the basement where the original radon gas was, but they become solids and collect on the basement surfaces and, yes, in the dust that is breathed in the basement that then sits in our lungs and can cause lung cancer. The EPA estimates that radon and its daughters is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among non-smokers.

Highest Concentrations of Radon

Radon can pop up anywhere in the world. The highest concentrations of radon appear to occur in Iowa and in the Appalachian Mountain areas and in southeastern Pennsylvania. Radon gas occurs around large landfills that have been filled with unknown substances for years.
The EPA, suggests that we all test the air in our basements for radon gas. Think about your basement for a second. It is just a storage area that also holds perhaps a freezer and furnace for heating? Or is it a place that also sleeps the pets of the house? Does the person of the house have his football friends over on weekends, spending hour upon hour in the basement? Is it a place area for the children?

The Basement Needs To Be Tested

For the sake of everyone living in the house, the basement needs to be tested for radon gas. There are various types of radon-testing devices available. There are devices, relatively inexpensive, to test the air as it is right now. Then there are devices, like smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide detectors, that test the air on an ongoing basis.
If you are just an occasional user of the basement in your house, a test to check the current condition of the air might be enough. If you use the basement as a den, bedroom or playroom, you need to have the air tested on an ongoing basis. Further, if you are a heavy user of the basement, besides keeping the people safe with a redon detector, you absolutely need a CO detector there.
There is a myth that carbon monoxide is heavier than air and therefore the detector needs to be located near the floor. The reality is that the molecular weight of carbon monoxide is 28.01 g/ml. The molecular weight of air, mentioned above, is 28.97 g/ml.
The reason that you need a CO detector in the basement if you use it heavily is that if the furnace were to malfunction, it could kick a lot of CO in the air and trap it at the basement low level. But it is not just the furnace that you have to worry about. All devices in your house, including the fireplace and the wood-burning stove, all devices that produce combustion, produce some level of CO. Be safe and be wise, get a CO detector!

Radon Exposure Symptoms

Unlike carbon monoxide poisoning (carbon monoxide symptoms are headaches, blotchy skin followed by unconsciousness and death), radon poisoning symptoms, radon gas symptoms are the same as those for lung cancer. In fact, it is lung cancer and at that point, it could well be too late to deal with a radon problem, which is why we must treat it now, in the present.
Radon testing cost. The radon test for short-term testing is very inexpensive or even free in some areas of the country. Check with your county health department on any programs regarding radon gas exposure. The typical test kit for a one-time test includes a detector that is hung at the lowest level in the basement for several days (read instructions carefully). Then the collector is sent off to a lab to check for radon.
The long-term radon test kits are more expensive and work on an ongoing basis, just like smoke detectors and CO detectors.
If you are going to build a new house on a piece of property or substantially renovate a house or building, there are so called “open-land” test kits available to check the land for radon before you buy or build. This is a good idea and could save you a lot of grief and financial pain down the road.
What do you do if you discover radon gas? Radon mitigation system costs depend on what you want to do and how you want to handle it. Radon test kit Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Target, will cost a few dollars. Always follow directions on the packaging with these test.
One of the safest things to do to mitigate radon is to install ventilation, under the house to move the air there. This should be positive ventilation, which means a fan to move the air. If your house is on a slab, the slab can be depressurized, once again, by increasing the under slab ventilation.
Another positive step you can take is to increase the positive ventilation of the whole house. In this day and age when everyone is concerned with energy conservation, people want to seal up their homes as tightly as possible. Yes indeed, that will cut down on energy costs, but it can also allow unhealthy air to stay in the house. Even if you are committed to a tight house, during the winter, turn down the heat for 15 minutes and open the doors or windows to freshen the air. This is particularly value to do on days when the outside temperature gets above freezing and the sun is shining. A third method of keeping the basement area safe is to install a radon sump. If you are building a house, an effective way to help keep the new home safe is to install a heavy sheet of plastic under the slab before you pour the concrete for the slab. This is called a “radon barrier.” If you live over a crawl space with a dirt floor, install the plastic sheet on the dirt floor with a vent pipe and fan that can draw out that radon to the outside. Remember, radon is much heavier than air and although colorless and odorless, it will accumulate at the lowest level of your house.
The question comes up, what are acceptable radon levels? What are safe smoking levels. Radon poisoning affects different people differently so we would venture a guess that the only safe level is no radon gas in the air at all.

Where To Buy Radon Test Kits Near Me

Here are popular online radon test kits:

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