"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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HOW ARE RADON LEVELS REDUCED?
Indoor radon levels can be reduced by caulking and sealing cracks in the basement floors and walls. Painting the floors and walls with two or more coats of epoxy paint also helps.
Radon levels levels have increased dramatically since the 1970s when our homes became more air-tight and energy efficient. Radon levels can be lowered by increased ventilation for basements and crawl space areas.
In regions with high concentrations of Radon gas, building codes require the installation of a plastic vapour barrier below the footings and basement floor or an under-slab ventilation system.

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HOW CAN RADON BE DETECTED OR TESTED?
Different kits are available for testing the air or well water for Radon.
You can purchase a test kit and after the test has been completed the kit has to be send back to the laboratory for full analysis. The kits are inexpensive and include pre-paid postage.
Radon Gas...
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Radon gas. Radon testing.

WHAT IS RADON?

Radon is a radioactive gas that is colourless, odourless and tasteless. It is created by the natural radioactive decay of uranium, a natural radioactive material found in soil, rock and groundwater. Since uranium is present all over the earth, radon is everywhere.
Radon, in the decay process, produces radon daughters. Radon and radon daughters are present in the ground, groundwater and building materials. If radon is suspected air samples should be taken and tested
HOW DOES RADON ENTERS BUILDINGS?. See illustration.
Only a fraction of the radon gas produced in the soil can find its way into a building. The rest is trapped in the soil.
(1) Radon in groundwater enters the well and into the house, where it is used for water supply, dish washing, showers, and other purposes.
(2) Cracks in the basement floor, wall/floor joints and the drainage system, allow radon to enter a building. Once inside, the radon cannot easily escape. Radon levels are usually the highest in basements and crawl spaces because these areas are nearest the source and are often poorly ventilated.




Points of entry for Radon Gas
(3) Radon gas is emitted from construction materials used in building the house.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF RADON?
When radon is released from the ground into the outdoor air, it gets diluted to low concentrations and is not a concern. However, in enclosed spaces, like basements, it can sometimes accumulate to high levels, which can be a risk to the health of you and your family.
Radon itself poses little health risk because it does not react with body tissue and does not deposit in the lungs. However, radon daughters become attached to dust particles in the indoor air. When these particles are inhaled, a fraction is deposited in the lungs. There the radon daughters disintegrate and the released alpha particles penetrate nearby lung tissue. High concentrations of alpha particles produced by radon daughters increases the risk of lung cancer.

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