In 2020, approximately 1.80 million deaths happened because of lung cancer. Next to smoking, radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer, the cases of which are dramatically increasing every year. Radon gas is present in small amounts in the atmosphere, but the problem begins when the concentration in the atmosphere increases. Let’s get to know what Radon gas is and how it is dangerous, and in many cases, fatal.
What Is Radon Gas?
Depicting no colors, odorless, and radioactive, the Radon gas is considered a silent killer. When inhaled by a person for long periods, it can ultimately develop into lung cancer, and the chances of lung cancer are even higher if the person smokes.
When radioactive material such as Uranium in rocks, groundwater, and soil is broken down, the Radon gas forms and goes up into the atmosphere. Usually, the lower concentrations of Radon gas that are present in lesser amounts do not cause a lot of damage.
Because the source of the gas is outside, most of the gas evaporates without causing problems. What happens is that sometimes, the Radon gas penetrates itself through orifices or cracks in the walls and goes into houses. Due to this, the concentration may rise up to an extremely harmful level because the gas is trapped inside the house.
When trapped in indoor spaces, Radon gas can cause cancer in about 20 years, with no immediate effects so that you wouldn’t know about it beforehand. When the gas is inhaled by a person, it binds itself to the inner wall of the lungs, damaging DNA.
Health Effects of Radon Gas
The extremely harmful effects of the Radon gas were first found in miners that mined Uranium because there is a high concentration of Radon gas produced when Uranium decomposes.
Radon is the number-one element that gives rise to cancer in people who don’t smoke. According to EPA estimates, about 21,000 deaths occur every year due to Lung cancer that has been caused by Radon Gas. Smokers, on the other hand, are 25 times more likely to get lung cancer if they are exposed to Radon.
How Does Radon Get into Buildings?
Radon can get into buildings without letting anyone know of its presence. Because of its properties, you can be exposed to Radon for a long time before you actually find out. It gets in through a number of ways, particularly in areas close to old rocks and soil.
The concentration of Radon can is based on a number of factors. Some of these include:
The geology of the location of the building. If the old rocks and soil nearby the building have high uranium content and high permeability, a building is more likely to have Radon entered into it.
The ways through which Radon can get into the building by means of soil. If there are more routes present, the building is at higher risk.
Building materials may also produce Radon gas. If there is a construction site nearby, the chances of Radon infestation increase.
If there is an active exchange between the external air and internal air or a building, there are more chances of having Radon in the building.
In addition to cracks, Radon can get into the buildings through gaps that surround pipes, drains, floor-wall junctions, and other routes present throughout the building. The rooms that are present in the underground of the house are more inviting to Radon.
In fact, any living space that is in direct contact with ground/soil in buildings can also be affected. Ground floor, however, has a lower risk but can still be affected. Check out here how do you test for Radon in your home?
How to Reduce Radon Concentration in Houses?
In existing buildings, you can take some steps to reduce Radon concentration. When looking for ways to minimize Radon concentration, keep in mind to try well-efficient methods as the risk of Radon is extremely high and can prove to be fatal. Some of the well-tested and cost-efficient methods that you can use are as follows:
- You should increase under-floor ventilation. It makes sure that if there are any spaces between pipes, they are ventilated by themselves without entering the house.
- You should install a radon pump system, preferably in the basement.
- You should take measures to block the ways through which Radon can enter through the ground into the living spaces.
- You should ensure proper sealing of walls and floors.
- You should make sure that there is a considerable exchange of external and internal air.
- You should improve ventilation in the house.
By taking these actions, you can reduce the Radon concentration up to 50 percent. Moreover, by installing Radon fans, you can reduce it even further and be safer.
Indoor Radon concentration is an avertible risk factor. It can be safely reduced through a number of effective methods that must be a part of national policies. By constructing buildings that have a lower risk of Radon infestation, we can ensure that the living areas are free of Radon.
Considering the risk and hazards it has got, it is crucial that we all know what radon gas is. This article provides you with a comprehensive brief of the topic; reading this will allow you to get familiar with the potential threats, and based on that, you will be able to take appropriate actions on time.