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Radon Gas – An Overview: Testing, Symptoms, & Remediation

By March 6, 2020October 16th, 2020Radon
Radon Gas in Florida

What is Radon Gas?

Radon gas is a Class A Carcinogen that is undetectable by taste, smell, sight, and touch. There is practically no way for a person to know if Radon is present without completing a Radon test.

Radon comes from the soil by breakdown of radium. Through time, radon seeps into homes through the foundation and builds up. While in nature, Radon can move so you are not breathing in concentrations. In a home however, built of Radon levels can easily cause a person to become sick.

Death Facts of Radon

Radon kills about 21,000 people each year and is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer behind cigarettes (aka, it’s bad). That’s about a death every 25 minutes.

Radon Levels

Radon is a normal occurrence, but too much Radon is the issue. Any level of Radon that shows more than 4 pCi/L, you will need home remediation. Any level more than 2 pCi/L should consider remediation. A pCi/L is picocuries per liter and is measured through high-tech radon equipment. It is important to note the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) states any level above a 4 is not safe.

Where is Radon Found?

High Levels of Radon gas are found mostly up north. However, if materials from up north are used to build structures in the south, the radon can transfer. For instance, there was a case of radon in Miami high-rises from the concrete materials sourcing.

You can view this map that shows the level of concern for high Radon by county.

Yellow is Low Chance, Orange is Medium, and Red is High Levels

While in northern United States Radon is a more serious issue, Radon in Florida is just as scary. You can see a few counties in Florida are orange surrounding Tampa Bay, Miami, and the Ocala area up to the panhandle.

Radon in Florida

High levels of Radon are found in Florida due to the buildings materials, but also due to the natural environment. Many Floridians are not properly informed about Radon and therefore, may not consider Radon Testing.

Symptoms of High Radon Exposure

While Radon can cause lung cancer, there are other symptoms a person may experience as well. These are listed on the health line website as follows:

  • persistent cough
  • coughing up blood
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • hoarseness
  • chest pain, especially when you cough or laugh
  • frequent infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia

You can see a trend that Radon mainly affects the respiratory system.

Testing for Radon Gas

To test for Radon, you can purchase a kit from Amazon. However, those kits are not the most accurate.

If you are purchasing a home, it might be better to have a professional test by a more accurate system. There is more information about Radon testing here.

Here are few types of Radon Tests that are available:

  • alpha-track detectors
  • charcoal canisters
  • charcoal liquid scintillation detectors
  • electret ion chambers
  • continuous monitors

Although this may seem like gibberish, you can do your research about the different types. These are all short term tests meaning for 2-3 days.

Long term Radon tests can last for up to 90 days.

Radon Levels Fluctuate

Just because Radon is not high now, does not mean that Radon will not be at higher level in the future. Therefore, you should consider have Radon testing completed every few years.

Radon Remediation

Radon Gas remediation can be tricky, expensive, and difficult if you are not a professional.

In some instances, a remediation process may require a vent from the basements or foundation to the outside air. Furthermore, other tactics recommend sealing all cracks, voids, and holes in the at the ground level. This stops the uncontrollable movement of the gas.

Ultimately, having a radon test will show you and your professional how high of a Radon level there is. From there, the professional can decide on a best course of action.

In rare cases, a home might be built of radioactive concrete that require serious remediation processes.

Read more about remediation

Want to know more?

This initial blog will be a series of Radon posts from our website. Stay tuned for more in depth blog posts about Radon Gas. You can subscribe on the right sidebar to stay up to date.

Florida has Radon. Get a free test kit from the government now.

Have a question? Comment below!

Aaron Shishilla

Author Aaron Shishilla

Aaron Shishilla is the youngest registered professional inspector in Florida. Coming from a family-owned home inspection company and now the marketing manager at Waypoint.

More posts by Aaron Shishilla

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