Radon In Ohio

Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. Its presence in your home can pose a danger to your family’s health. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims about 20,000 lives annually.

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Where Does Radon Come From: Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium deposits in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe inside your home.

Radon can be found all over the U.S. It can get into any type of building regardless of the type of construction. You and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure at home, where you spend most of your time. The majority of Northeast Ohio counties are listed as Zone 1 “Highest” from the US EPA

How Does It Get Inside A Building: Most buildings or homes are somewhat sealed resulting in a lower pressure than the outside air resulting in a vacuum effect allowing radon gas to seep through foundations, concrete slabs and other building materials.

Important Fact: Any type of home or building can contain high levels of radon gas. It is a myth that a home without a basement will not have high levels of radon gas. Slab on grade homes, and schools often have high levels of radon gas. Any type of building that is anchored to the earth is at risk. Testing is recommended for any type of building that is occupied for long periods of time.

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How Much Radon in Your Home is Too Much?

  • The most typical measurement of Radon gas in air is in Pico Curies per Liters usually represented as pCi/L
  • A PicoCurie is an amount of radiation and a liter is a volume of air.
  • The EPA recommends a homeowner mitigate at a level of 4.0 pCiL or higher, however you should check out the EPA’s risk chart to make your own personal assessments and decisions. The lower the radon level in your home the safer you and your family are. The world Health Organization recommends mitigation when radon levels are above 2.7- This was just released in August of 2009.http://www.mitigationsystem.com/releases/release/7166404/19723.htm

How Does Radon Induce Cancer? If inhaled, radon decay products (polonium-218 and polonium-214, solid form), unattached or attached to the surface of aerosols, dusts, and smoke particles, become deeply lodged or trapped in the lungs, where they can radiate and penetrate the cells of mucous membranes, bronchi, and other pulmonary tissues.

The ionizing radiation energy affecting the bronchial epithelial cells is believed to initiate the process of carcinogenesis. Although radon-related lung cancers are mainly seen in the upper airways, radon increases the incidence of all histological types of lung cancer, including small cell carcinoma, Aden carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

Lung cancer due to inhalation of radon decay products constitutes the only known risk associated with radon. In studies done on miners, variables such as age, duration of exposure, time since initiation of exposure and especially the use of tobacco have been found to influence individual risk. In fact, the use of tobacco multiplies the risk of radon-induced lung cancer enormously.

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Is Radon A Myth: Why people are so skeptical of what radon is and how it affects our health is beyond our knowledge. The CDC, EPA, and National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization have nothing to gain or lose, nor do they receive any type of profits for identifying radon gas as a health concern. Radon is a scientific fact with many years of research to back up statistical data.

Radon in Granite Counter Tops: Does the EPA believe there is a danger of radon gas or associated radiation being emitted from granite countertops?

It is possible for any granite sample to contain varying concentrations of uranium and other naturally occurring radioactive elements. These elements can emit radiation and produce radon gas, a source of alpha and beta particles and gamma rays. Some granite used for counter-tops may contribute variably to indoor radon levels.

Some types of granite may emit gamma radiation above typical background levels. However, at this time EPA believes that the existing data is insufficient to conclude that the types of granite commonly used in counter-tops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels.

While radiation levels are not typically high, measurement of specific samples may reveal higher than expected levels on a case-by-case basis. Granite is a naturally occurring igneous rock, meaning that it was formed by the cooling of molten rock. It is quarried and processed to produce commercial products such as counter-tops.

What advice does the EPA have about radon for consumers who have granite counter-tops?
EPA believes the principal source of radon in homes is from the soil in contact with building materials. To reduce the radon risk you should first test the air in your home to determine the radon level. While natural rocks such as granite may emit radiation and radon gas, the levels attributable to such sources are not typically high.

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