Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is tasteless, odorless, and colorless. It is a normal decay product of uranium 238 and radium concentrated sufficiently in many types of rocks and soil throughout the nation. In central Virginia, main sources are granite and shale. Testing is the only way to know if you or your family are at risk from radon. Testing is in-expensive and easy- it should take only a few minutes of your time. Millions of Americans have already tested their homes for radon gas.
Radon is a cancer causing, radioactive gas. You cannot see, smell, or taste radon, but it may be a problem in your home. Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. That’s because breathing air containing radon can cause lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths.
By now most homeowners and homebuilders are aware of the indoor radon problem. An increasing number of home sales are now contingent upon both a radon test and subsequent remediation if more than 4pCi/l, the action limit established by the EPA, is found. Elevated radon levels have also been found in schools and other buildings throughout the nation.
Property owners and home buyers have had their awareness of radon raised by the media and through federal, state, county, and university studies. The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.
In cases where remediation is necessary, radon entry into the lowest level of the house or building should be prevented. This is where it is in contact with the soil and rock, the primary source of radon gas. As radon gas diffuses up through the soil it is pulled indoors through the foundation usually by indoor negative pressure. We install a sub-slab or sub-polymer ventilation system which integrates PVC pipes with a specialized in-line exhaust fan drawing the radon out from underneath the house or building and venting it to the atmosphere thereby preventing it from ever entering the living area of the home.
All houses have some radon, as does the outdoor air. Radon is an inert gas, meaning that it is chemically inactive. Since it is not chemically bound or attached to other materials, radon can move easily through any material that has pores or void spaces through which gasses can move. Void spaces and pores are found in the soil beneath any home.
Radioactive decay is the disintegration of the nuclei of atoms in a radioactive element. These disintegrations are usually accompanied by release of pieces of the nucleus and sometimes by release of energy in the form of gamma rays. The radioactive decay chain for radon begins with uranium. Uranium decays through several intermediate steps to produce radium, which in turn produces radon. Radon then decays into other substances ( radon decay products) which are also radioactive. Polonium-218 and Polonium-214 are the alpha emitters that do most of the damage to human lung tissue.
Mold is everywhere in our environment. A walk in the woods exposes you to many different types of fungi. Yeasts and mold are types of fungi and some are helpful and some are harmful. It is when the harmful molds co-exist with humans in our living or working environment that the problem takes on a level of concern.
Yeasts and mold require the following conditions to proliferate on surfaces; temperatures between 40 and 100 degrees, mold spores, a nutrient base( most surfaces contain nutrients) and moisture. These items together foster optimal growth of mold and mildew. It cannot be emphasized enough that the best way to manage mold growth is to prevent it before it occurs. The essential elements of a prevention strategy are the control of moisture, the timely remediation of any water leakage, and adequate maintenance of heating, ventilation and HVAC systems. Mold and mildew growth can occur when building temperatures are lowered during unoccupied periods. Monitoring the temperature and ventilation in attics is important in an effort to keep mold from colonizing there. Proper moisture control is critical to keeping mold spores from multiplying and mold colonies from forming. Living in a damp and mouldy home has been associated with non-specific complaints such as headache, sore throat, flu symptoms, diarrhea, fatigue, dermatitis, cough and fever. It is well established that fungi cause several diseases, such as systemic infections and asthma.
Awareness of mold growth in buildings has risen sharply in recent years. Several factors have contributed to this heightened awareness, including changes in building materials and the failure of occupants to manage moisture intrusion and humidity properly. Mold in homes and offices can cause numerous health problems for all those exposed to it. Proper mold remediation is essential to maintaining a healthy environment in which to live and work.
Radon Control Professionals South, INC is a construction company that can help you in your quest to lower the effects of both radon and mold. If you would like any information about the radon or mold remediation process, please call 540-657-1400. We have successfully remediated over thirty thousand homes and would be glad to address any questions or concerns you may have about radon or mold, including their detrimental health effects.