Just about every homeowner has heard of carbon monoxide and understands, at least at a basic level, why it’s important to have a few carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house. In many ways, radon is pretty similar. Just like carbon monoxide, radon is both colorless and odorless. And, more importantly, it can be harmful in higher quantities. Fortunately, there are radon testing options that can help you detect radon so you can take action and protect yourself. As a homeowner or business owner, being aware of what radon is and where it comes from can help you protect against it.
Like carbon monoxide, radon is pretty much impossible for humans to detect without help. However, it’s important to be aware and test regularly because radon can cause some pretty serious health issues. According to the National Cancer Institute, radon is the second highest cause of lung cancer, coming after cigarette smoking. While radon won’t cause immediately noticeable effects the way carbon monoxide can, it’s certainly not an element you want to have lingering in your home or workplace. Unfortunately for Coloradans, our state has a fairly high instance of naturally occurring radon. You can check your county on the map here, but all of Colorado has either a moderate or high potential for radon. This means that you’ll need to test regularly and take action if radon testing shows certain levels of radon in your home or business.
Where Radon Comes From
A big part of understanding how to be on the lookout for radon is understanding where it comes from and how it can find its way into your home. Speaking very broadly, radon is a product of the breakdown of uranium, which is a radioactive element commonly used in nuclear power. However, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear as long as you don’t live near a nuclear power plant or something like that. Radon is not a product or byproduct of commercially-made products or processes; it’s created by the natural decay of uranium-238. As uranium-238 decays, it produces radium-226, which in turn decays into radon. Knowing the decay chain isn’t quite as important as where the elements can be found. Radium-226 can be found in uranium ore, which is understandable given the name, but it can also be found in phosphate rock, shale, and igneous and metamorphic rock varieties like granite, schist, and limestone.
Radon is a gas, but one that attaches itself to other particles in the air. What this means is that radon can be emitted by rocks, soil, and sand made up of the minerals that are composed, at least in part, of uranium or radium-226. It also means that things made with those materials — specifically some construction materials — can emit radon. Because radon can be found in so many natural sources, it’s important to ensure you are testing for radon regularly.
Radon Testing & Mitigation
Because it is both colorless and odorless, there’s no real way for people to test for radon without assistance. A radon test kit can tell you how high a concentration of radon there is in the air in your home or business. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests radon mitigation action be taken if your home tests for four or more picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). If a home radon test shows two to four pCi/L, you’ll want to consider taking action and be sure to test regularly to make sure those levels don’t increase.
You don’t need to navigate this one your own. Contact the radon specialists at Radon Gone here in Broomfield to learn more about the testing and mitigation process and get started on making your home safer today!