Radon gas is mainly found in soil, building materials, natural gas, rocks and even in some water. It can naturally accumulate in buildings, especially in basements, spring waters and also in attics and can cause various illnesses. As it can be harmful, it is important to know Radon poisoning symptoms and prevention of exposure to Radon gas.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive isotope that can be found in homes, offices, schools, old and new buildings. Radon contaminated soil can allow the gas to seep into the foundation of building structures, on which it is constructed. Radon can get contaminated even in water supply, which can enter inside house or offices through pipes, faucets, drains or any appliance that uses water. It gets trapped inside house and can create harmful effects. The gas can seep into the basements or low lying buildings through soil and can even be present in basements. Out of 15 homes in the US, 1 home is affected by Radon and the risk may be higher in construction areas. It is important to understand the symptoms of Radon poisoning to be able to identify the problems and take the necessary steps.
Health Effects of Exposure to Radon Gas
Long term exposure to Radon can cause many health effects, the most important one is the increased risk of lung cancers. About 21,000 people died in the US due to lung cancer caused by Radon exposure. People who are exposed to Radon are likely to get higher risk of lung cancer as compared to those who smoke.
Symptoms of Radon Poisoning
If the concentration of Radon gas is higher in an environment, it can cause Radon poisoning. This occurs mainly in the areas where there is poor ventilation such as basements, crawl spaces, underground areas of buildings and homes. Since this gas originates from soil and consists of radioactive particles, it can cause severe problems in high exposure. The particles present in Radon can cause severe lung damage. Most of the Radon exposure occurs in underground uranium mines and causes high rate of lung cancer diseases.
Radon poisoning symptoms can include difficulty in breathing, persistent cough, wheezing, hoarseness, chest pain and coughing blood as in some of the respiratory infections. Long term exposure can increase risk of lung cancers and cause deaths.
Knowing Radon poisoning symptoms are quite difficult as the symptoms are similar to those of respiratory diseases. The chances of Radon poisoning can be known only when the area where you are living or working is tested for Radon levels. If respiratory symptoms are noted and Radon poisoning symptoms are suspected, it is important to do the Radon exposure test in the area where you are living or working. If you experience problems related to Radon poisoning, it may be appropriate to seek medical help.
Prevention of Exposure to Radon Gas
The first step towards preventing exposure to Radon gas or preventing its complications is to find out whether there is Radon exposure in an area. Radon concentration test at home or office can help to identify the presence of Radon poisoning in an area. In order to conduct a test, you must hire a qualified tester.
There are other short-term kits available for do-it-yourself testing purposes. Make sure that the kits you purchase from market meet the required EPA requirements and standards.
- Short term kits are used for home or office and can be used from 2 to 90 days testing. Radon levels fluctuate on daily basis with varying season, so it is important to follow up with secondary test.
- Long term kits can be used for home and office level Radon testing. The long term kits provide more accurate results compare to short term kits.
If above testing kits find out that there is higher concentration of Radon and you are looking to reduce it, then certain measures can help in prevention of exposure to Radon gas.
- A common method of prevention of Radon poisoning is to put a sub-slab of depressurization, which has the ability to vent air from inside foundations in basements or ground. You can contact a qualified contractor to install such depressurization equipment.
- Preventing exposure of Radon can be done by using methods such as sealing cracks in the foundation or walls with the help of air cleaners.
- The other most important way to prevent exposure to Radon gas is to vent Radon out of building by reducing its level. There are various ways to vent out Radon and some of the techniques include use of blowers, fans, suction devices inside the highly exposed areas such as basement, crawling spaces, foundation of buildings or underground tunnels.
After knowing the serious health effects of Radon gas, it is necessary to realize the importance of getting rid of this gas from your surrounding area. Radon is a naturally occurring harmful radioactive gas and it must be tested in the area where you are living. You can use services of qualified EPA contractor who has proper training, knowledge and equipment to handle it. Contact specialists for testing purposes or buy do-it-yourself kits from market.