Vapour barrier installation

Lung cancer is one of the most prevalent health issues today. It is fairly common knowledge that cigarette smoking (either by choice or by inhaling second-hand smoke) is the leading cause of lung cancer. However, it is less commonly known that the Surgeon General has now cited radon gas as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the Surgeon General’s Office have reported that radon gas causes as many as 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year.

Unlike cigarette smoking, which comes by a person purchasing a product and choosing to use it, exposure to radon is never an intentional choice. Radon is essentially a radioactive gas that cannot be smelled, seen, or tasted. It is caused by the natural decay of uranium in the earth, and the radioactive gas comes through the soil and can enter homes or other building through the drains, pipes, or foundation gaps. Because it can enter undetected, radon gas testing is necessary to ensure the safety of your home.

The U.S. EPA uses a measure of radioactivity to determine that the recommended action level for radon exposure is 4 pCi/L. In conducting residential radon testing services, the US EPA found that almost one in three homes checked in seven states and on three Native American lands had radon gas testing results over 4 pCi/L. This is particularly concerning because in a home that has radon levels of 4 pCi/L, the family is exposed to approximately 35 times as much radiation as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would allow if the family happened to be standing next to the fence of a radioactive waste site. Another survey found that approximately one in 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have radon levels that are at or greater than the U.S. EPA action level. This only serves to increase the number of lung cancer patients in the U.S.; it has been shown that the risk of lung cancer increases significantly after long term radon gas exposure.

There is good news, though. Radon gas testing is a simple and efficient method of determining the radon level in your home. There are two options: short term and long term detectors. Short term detectors will measure radon gas levels for two to 90 days; the length of time is dependent on the device. Long term radon gas testing devices are designed to measure the average concentration for more than 90 days. If the results show that there is a high level of radon gas in your home, you can implement a passive mitigation system. These have been proven to be capable of reducing indoor radon levels by a large amount, more than 50%. If radon ventilation fans are added, they can reduce radon gas levels even more. Scientists estimate that lung cancer deaths could be reduced by 2 to 4% (about 5,000 deaths) per year simply by lowering radon levels in homes that exceed the U.S. EPA?s action level.

If you are concerned about the potential radon in your home and would like information potentially life saving radon gas testing, here are some suggestions of resources for you.

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