Most homeowners might not be able to answer the question, “What is is radon?” This is one case where what you don’t know could hurt you, along with your family and your pets. Radon is a naturally-occurring inert gas that seeps into homes through basements, cracks, leaks, and the plumbing. It can also make its way into the water supply. It is a radioactive gas that poses serious health risks for humans and pets. Homes and private wells should be regularly tested and radon mitigation should be carried out if detected levels exceed the safety mark.
What is radon?
Radon is a colorless and odorless inert gas. It occurs naturally and finds its way into homes and buildings through basements, leaks and cracks in the walls, and the plumbing. It cannot be detected without specialized testing equipment, but can be harmful to the health of humans and pets.
Radon is radioactive and is the product of the breakdown of uranium found in water, rock and earth.
Homeowners should know what is radon and why is radon dangerous. Radon has been identified as a carcinogen and is responsible for thousands of deaths each year. It is a leading cause of lung cancer, along with smoking. It can be found in both old and new constructions, and in homes in all 50 states.
Risks of radon exposure
Radon exposure occurs when the gas seeps into homes and accumulates to dangerous concentrations. It can also enter the water supply, especially if the source of the supply is well water. Using the water for daily activities like showers, cooking, cleaning, and laundry can release the dangerous gas into the air inside the home.
While about 64% of all homes in the state of New Hampshire are connected to a municipal water supply, the rest rely on drilling wells to access the groundwater for their domestic water supply. Across the U.S., about 15 million households get their water supply from wells. Well water may chagrin radon, and water testing is necessary to reveal the presence of radon.
Reducing radon concentration
If radon testing shows the presence of the gas in the water supply, it can be removed using one of two methods. Aeration treatment mixes air and vents it from the water, removing the radon as well. Another method is to filter the water through granular activated carbon or GAC. The carbon attaches the radon, leaving the water free of the gas. GAC filters should be handled and disposed of carefully.
While most homeowners may not even know what is radon, it could hurt them and their families and pets. The naturally-occurring gas is a carcinogen that finds its way into homes and even the water supply. Testing and radon mitigation can help to reduce radon concentration to safe levels.