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Frequently Asked Radon Questions

Radon FAQ's

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Radon Mitigation Questions

Our FAQ includes the top 5 questions that people ask when contacting SWAT Environmental as well as many other frequently asked questions from around the nation. These questions cover just the beginning of information regarding radon and radon mitigation, to find more in-depth information regarding various radon topics head to the radon resources section of our site. Please feel free to share any of this information along the way and get the word out about radon and the health risks associated with radon gas. Awareness is key in fighting the battle against radon health issues across the United States and the world.

What is radon?
Radon is a dense, radioactive chemical element that exists mainly as a gas, a noble gas with the symbol Rn and atomic number 86. It is invisible, colorless, and odorless. Radon gas often accumulates in low-lying areas, such as basements, and exists in many homes, unknown to the house's occupants. Radon gas has been identified as a carcinogen, and has been linked to cases of lung cancer across the country.
Where does radon gas come from?
Radon gas is a byproduct of the natural decay of uranium and thenradium. These elements can be found naturally in certain types of rock, including granite, igneous, and limestone, as well as in soil and water. Hot springs can also contain high concentrations of radon.

Although humans are susceptible to ingesting radon by drinking contaminated water, the risk of ingesting significant traces is usually fairly small. It is also possible to consume radon by eating agricultural products that are grown in radon-contaminated soils, but the risk of eating foods that contain high concentrations is also low. Radon poses the most serious threat to humans when it is inhaled. Radon gas can make its way into a home by seeping through cracks in the foundation. Any pathway that air could take is one that radon could also potentially use, even diffusing straight through solid concrete.
What type of environments are likely to contain radon?
In general, underground environments have the greatest probability of containing high concentrations of radon gas. Places such as tunnels and mines are at the greatest risk for accumulating radon. As dangerous as basement radon levels can be, they are usually only a fraction of the strength of radon in underground mines. This is why miners and other underground workers are warned of the potentially severe health risks of the job before they sign an employment contract.
How do I know if there is radon gas in my home?
Without testing, it can be very difficult to tell if you have radon gas in your house since radon gas does not exhibit properties that are identifiable by human senses. Luckily, home radon test kits are commonly available. The short-term kits include a device that is placed in the lowest level of the home. It is left there for several days to absorb the radon, and then sent out to be analyzed. This type of kit is inexpensive and easy to acquire. Long-term radon kits are also available, and the collectors that come with these sit for up to a year. Long-term kits are more expensive, but they are also more accurate.
If radon gas is found in my home should I look into radon mitigation?
If your home contains unsafe levels of radon gas, you should have specialists from SWAT Environmental begin radon mitigation as soon as possible. The most effective radon mitigation method is the installation of specialized equipment to remediate the gas in your house, especially in its lower levels. To completely protect your family, other techniques may be necessary as well. SWAT Environmental’ s experts will be able to determine the optimal radon mitigation setup for your home.
How to test for radon?
First, acquire a Radon Test Kit. Test kits can be bought for a low price at SWAT Environmental. Make sure to use the test kit in the lowest level of the home, where the most people spend their time. If there is a play room in the basement, test in that room. If the basement is not frequently used, test the first floor. Testing for Radon will only be beneficial if the homeowner tests in rooms that are generally used. Follow the instructions on the test kit about how to use the kit, and what to do after the readings have been taken.
Why is radon dangerous?
Radon is a cancerous radioactive gas. It is colorless, odorless and tasteless. It gets broken down by the soil and emits toxins into the home. Breathing these toxins in are dangerous to the body. The toxins are made up of particles from the soil, and when breathed, get trapped in the lungs. The particles from Radon can build up over time, which then cause lung issues. If exposed to this gas and the toxins that come with it for a long period of time, the buildup can become cancerous.
What are the signs of radon?
Signs of Radon exposure come with similar symptoms that lung cancer does. A persistent cough that doesn’t get better, difficulty breathing, coughing up blood, chest pains, wheezing, hoarseness, etc. Many people dismiss these symptoms as common respiratory cold, but often the cause is something worse. Consult a doctor if these symptoms don’t get better.
When was radon discovered?
A German chemist named Friedrich Ernst Dorn was studying radium’s decay chain, and discovered radon in 1900. The symbol for Radon is Rn, and it’s atomic number is 86. It was originally named Niton, after the Latin word for shining: nitens. However, it was changed in 1923 to radon, signifying the radioactivity radon originates from.
Is radon radioactive?
Radon is radioactive. Radon itself is the breakdown of radioactive particles, like uranium, and what is broken down is the Radon. The radioactivity is formed from the soil and the rocks in which it is found. It can be found in the rocks and the soil, and at times may be found in well water. Radon’s extended half-life is able to spend copious amounts of time migrating through cracks in the building’s foundation, and then in the air, where it transforms into more harmful, radioactive metals. This is what makes Radon gas so dangerous.
What is radon testing?
Radon testing is the set up and recording of an indoor radon level inside an occupied space. This usually is a method used to determine what the actual level of radon gas is present inside and occupied dwelling or space and is typically measured in Picocuries per liter also known as pCi/L. There are several forms of radon testing kits and radon monitors available for use in long term and short term testing situations. Each can be used to determine an indoor radon gas level either by days or by months. Radon testing is becoming more and more a topic of discussion from environmental communities as well as real estate communities.
what is radon inspection?
Radon inspection comes when radon is tested. The levels show how much radon is present in the home or the building. The levels will also determine what the next steps a homeowner should take in order to decrease the threat of Radon gas.According to the World Health Organization, 2.7pCi/L is the level where homeowners should think about Radon mitigation. Similarly, the EPA suggests that homes at the level of 4pCi/L should mitigate to stay safe.
Does radon cause cancer?
Yes, exposure to Radon gas can cause lung cancer. The particles of Radon-infused gas that are breathed in build up in the lungs. Overtime, the buildup creates cancerous cells and may lead to lung cancer. Lung cancer is the only cancer proven to be caused by the inhalation of Radon gas. The risk of cancer is primarily from the radioactive particles that Radon gas carries.
How to fix radon?
Homeowners can fix a Radon problem by mitigation. Mitigation reduces the levels found in the home by suctioning the air out from under the home’s foundation, to up over the house. When the air is released above the house, it is diluted and safe to breathe.Cracks in the house’s foundation should also be sealed. Radon gas creeps into the home through them, which further contaminates the air people breathe.
What can radon do?
Radon can cause life-long health problems. Radon gas brings radioactive particles into the lungs when inhaled. These particles can build up over time, which can cause breathing and lung problems, such as lung cancer. Radon gas often goes undetected in the home since it is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. This is why many people may not realize the serious health threat they are living in until it’s too late.
How to reduce radon?
Certified technicians can install fans that suction the Radon-infused air from under the home or building’s foundation. These fans pull the bad air out and dilute it, which then makes it safer to breathe. The fans will keep the Radon at a safe level.After the fan has been installed, it is suggested to regularly test for Radon gas presence in the home. Since the gas is colorless, tasteless, and odorless, testing will be the only way to know for sure if the mitigation fan is working as it is supposed to and keeping the Radon at a low, safe level.
How do you test for radon?
Homeowners can purchase a test kit from SWAT Environmental. Short-term test kits are the general test kits homeowners should use, especially if it is the first test that is being conducted. Place the test kit in the lowest level of the home that people frequently visit, and wait a couple days. Follow the instructions on the test kit about where to send the results. You will soon find out what the Radon levels in your home are.
Where is radon found?
Radon is found in the soil. The soil breaks down radioactive material, and what is left is Radon gas. Radon gas is a threat to many homes and buildings, and should be tested to see if there is a risk for further health damage. Since it is so abundant in the soil, miners had extreme risk to the health problems that inhaling Radon gas can cause because of how long they were under ground. They were exposed in such high amounts that being diagnosed with lung cancer was a common problem among the employees.
What causes radon gas?
The natural breakdown of radioactive material, such as uranium, in the soil causes Radon gas. It can move through cracks in the pavement and foundations in homes and buildings and get trapped inside. There is Radon gas everywhere, but the levels will vary. It can vary because of how inconsistent the soil can be. There might be more Radon gas in some parts of the ground, and less in another. This is why every homeowner should be aware and test for this dangerous gas. One house might have a high level and their neighbor might be safe with a low level.
what is radon mitigation?
Radon mitigation is the act of reducing the levels of Radon gas found in the home or building. Mitigation systems are fans that pull the dangerous gas from the building’s foundation, and disperse it at the top of the foundation, which dilutes the gas making it safer to breathe. Certified technicians will come to the house and install the fans. SWAT Environmental has a team of local, properly-trained Radon gas mitigation technicians that will install the fan and keep the levels down.
Is radon odorless?
Yes, Radon gas is odorless. It is also tasteless and colorless, which makes the gas relatively invisible to the senses. This is what makes the health risks sneak up on homeowners, since they are unaware their home is being compromised. The only way to detect if the home or building has Radon gas is to test for it. There are short-term and long-term tests, however short-term tests should be used before mitigation occurs.
Where is radon found in nature?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown of radioactive material, such as uranium. It is usually found in rocks and soil, but sometimes can be found in well water. Radon gas can be found everywhere in the soil. Every home could be at risk for the dangers that Radon gas inhalation brings. Homeowners should be aware and test to find out if they are in danger.
How to detect radon gas?
The main and most effective way to detect Radon gas is to test for it. Contact SWAT Environmental to acquire a test kit to know if your home is at risk.Test kits should be placed in the lowest, most populated room in the home to have the most accurate results. Testing is the key way to detect for Radon gas, since the gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.
how to test radon?
The first step is to get a Radon test kit. Put the test kit in the lowest, most visited area in the home or building. Every test kit varies, so follow the instructions that come with the test kit to find out how long to keep the test kit in use and where to send the results. Depending on the results, the next step would be to mitigate the Radon in the home. SWAT Environmental is where you can go to get a test kit and to mitigate. We will help every step of the way.
Where can I get a radon test kit?
Contact your local SWAT Environmental for a test kit. We will send one out to in a matter of days so you know your Radon gas levels quickly. You may also be able to find some test kits at drugstores, hardware stores, or gas stations. Homeowners can also make their own test kit, however, they might not be as accurate. It is recommended to purchase a test kit through one of the retailers listed above to make sure you have a precise reading on the Radon gas level in the home.
where is radon commonly found?
Radon is commonly found in the soil. The gas can creep in through cracks in the foundation and in pavements to contaminate the air that you breathe. Because the levels vary, one house might have extremely high levels, and the neighbor might not. It is a good idea for all homeowners to test their home, since Radon gas can be found anywhere and everywhere.
Is radon radiation?
Yes, Radon is radiation. Radon is the breakdown of radioactive material, like uranium, in the soil. Radon is a different form of radiation, since it is generally found in the soil. This radiation then transfers into the home, which is extremely dangerous to breathe. Overtime the Radon gas and the radioactive particles it carries can buildup in the lungs. This buildup is likely to cause lung cancer, if the Radon gas isn’t tested and mitigated in a short amount of time.
What level of radon is safe?
Technically, no level of Radon gas is safe. The more correct question is what level of Radon gas is acceptable. According to the World Health Organization, any level of Radon gas that is at or below 2.7pCi/L is safe. Consequently, the EPA suggests that a level of 4pCi/L is the danger level and when homeowners should mitigate. It is generally the up to the homeowner if a mitigation system should be installed, however, they are risking the lives of everyone in the home if they choose not to. Breathing in high levels of Radon gas can cause extremely deadly health problems, like lung cancer, for the future.
Where to buy radon test kit?
Homeowners can buy a Radon test kit from their local SWAT Environmental. We will ensure a quick delivery, so homeowners do not have to live in a state of worry over not knowing their Radon gas levels for long. Test kits may also be available at hardware stores and drugstores. They may also be found at online retail stores, like Amazon.
What does radon do to you?
Radon gas particles can buildup in your lungs overtime. Inhaling Radon gas brings radioactive particles with it, which is highly dangerous. This can create breathing problems, which may eventually turn into lung cancer. Some of the symptoms to look for is a persistent cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath. If anyone in the home is experiencing similar symptoms, take them seriously and get it checked out. It could be a common cold, but it also could be something for life-threatening, like lung cancer.
What is radon exposure?
Radon exposure is when people breathe in Radon-infused air over a long period of time. The exposure can cause lasting health problems, such as lung cancer. Radon exposure can be extremely deadly if not properly monitored. Many people are unaware they are exposed unless they test for it.
Does radon cause lung cancer?
Yes, Radon can cause lung cancer. Breathing in air contaminated with Radon gas over a long period of time, can create the buildup of airborne toxins in the lungs. This buildup can lead to lasting breathing problems, and also lung cancer. The symptoms look a lot like a common cold, however, should be treated more seriously. One trip to the doctor could save a life when it comes to Radon gas.

Testing your home for radon

There is no guaranteed way to determine radon levels without testing.

You should test radon levels before and after mitigation to ensure levels have decreased. A short-term radon test found at a local hardware store costs approximately $20 and takes a few days to complete.

SWAT Environmental sells AirChek short term radon kits that ship same day, just be sure to read and follow all directions. If you are not comfortable testing your own home a professional radon tester can charge between $50 and $200. Long-term tests like the Alpha Track Detector can take 3 months to a year to complete.
Radon levels can fluctuate while testing because of temperature, wind, barometric pressure, and precipitation. Approved radon tests must last at least 48 hours.

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