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Tracking Radon and Long term Testing Saves Lives

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Those who have not bought or sold a house in the last twenty years may not have thought too much about radon. Typically, it’s a topic that only comes up amid a real estate transaction. But, long-term radon exposure can be deadly, and testing and mitigation should be a consideration for homeowners, businesses, and public buildings alike. 

Radon is a radioactive gas that begins as uranium, found in the ground and in most rocks. Outside, radon gas is not a concern as it dissipates in the air. However, when the gas finds its way inside, it can concentrate to a point that mitigation is recommended to avoid dangerous long-term health consequences.

The Negative Effects of Long-Term Radon Exposure 

The adverse effects of radon exposure may not reveal themselves right away. However, prolonged radon exposure can have devastating consequences. Radon exposure is the top cause of lung cancer behind smoking. According to the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) about 21,000 people a year die from lung cancer brought about by radon exposure. 

Breathing in radon gas affects the lining of one’s lungs. Because radon is a gas you cannot feel, see, taste, or smell, and steps need to be taken to detect the presence of the dangerous gas and mitigate its presence. 

Regular and Ongoing Radon Detection 

A solid detection plan needs to be in place to avoid the serious, potentially deadly consequences of long-term radon exposure. There are multiple avenues one can take when testing for the presence of radon in a home. There has been an established standard to test for the presence of radon when a house is being sold or purchased. These short-term tests, using passive test kits, may show that a house is currently safe, but the EPA recommendation is for ongoing radon detection.  Radon levels can change over time, and a one-time test, using a passive test kit, may not be sufficient for a clear picture.

There are many options for regular, ongoing radon detection. Radon enters the home through areas closest to the ground, so levels are often higher in places like basements than they would be in, say, an upstairs bedroom. Choosing an electronic based continuous monitoring  system that can cover multiple areas of a home can help paint a comprehensive picture of a home’s overall radon situation. 

One product offered by Ecosense that addresses the need for a multiple-location detection system is the EcoTracker. The EcoTracker bundles four high-performance radon detectors that can be placed in multiple locations throughout a home. The detection devices offer industry leading 30 CPH/pCi/L (counts per hour per pCi per liter) sensitivity.

There are many other options for ongoing radon monitoring, ranging in price and sensitivity. There are smart radon detection systems that one can monitor from their smartphone. Some systems integrate right into one’s home decor. These electronic continuous monitoring systems test the air numerous times in an hour and provide regular readings. 

Testing & Mitigation Save Lives 

If regular monitoring detects a high radon level in a home, there are mitigation options available. One of the most popular methods of removing radon from a home is a vent pipe system and fan installation. This method pulls radon from sources identified about the  house (generally in basements or under slabs) and vents it outside. In addition, sealing cracks in the home’s foundation can help make this option more effective. 

Even with mitigation and removal systems in place, monitoring systems still have useful applications. Ongoing monitoring will ensure that the mitigation efforts are successful. Also, homes should be monitored for radon if construction or renovation is done on the house. Anything that could alter slab or foundation penetrations or disturb the soil under one’s home and allow radon gas to seep into the home should be an impetus for radon testing. 

Regular and ongoing testing saves lives. With long-term exposure to radon remaining the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, education about options for homeowners, companies, and public locations needs to continue. 

With continued innovations in detection systems and awareness, people can live and work in healthier environments going forward. 

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