Q. Sources of Radon Gas?

Q. Hey Mark,
I’ve heard two different things about radon gas from two different inspectors. One inspector said that radon comes from soil. The other said that it can be brought into the home through other things. Which is right?
Kathy

A. Hey Kathy,

Both inspectors are correct, you just didn’t get a complete explanation from either of their comments. Radon is produced from the natural decay of uranium/radium in the earth’s crust and that decay ultimately produces radon gas and other dangerous decay products. The gas can then work its way through the soil and get trapped in our homes.

Although it’s not as common, radon can also make its way into our homes via well water or other radon-producing materials that may be in our homes. Some common building products have the potential for containing small amounts of uranium or radium, and thus can produce radon gas. Possible radon-producing materials could be concrete made with aggregate that has come from a uranium mine tailings, natural stones used in a fireplace or hearth, rocks used in a solar storage area, and even gypsum in drywall (in just a few isolated cases). If you have had your home tested for radon, and you have reasonably acceptable levels, the concern over these radon producing materials is minor. By far, the most common way for unacceptable levels of radon to enter a home is via soil gases.

The most serious heath risk regarding radon is radon-induced lung cancer. If elevated levels are detected in a home, the first line of attack is to vent the soil gases and re-test the home. If the powered ventilation system is not sufficient, a radon professional can use other testing methods and procedures to further identify the source and make appropriate recommendations on how to mitigate the problem.

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the good and hard working blog!
    I looking forward to see more posting fron you!

  2. Radon gas has radioactive properties and can contribute to acute respiratory health risks, such as lung cancer (one in 20 will develop lung cancer due to elevated exposure1). This is especially true if you are a smoker or are exposed to second hand smoke on a consistent basis.

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