Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Radon Gas

Radon Gas

Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you can't see, smell or taste. Its presence in your home, school and workplace can pose a danger to your family's health.

Radon naturally occurs from traces of uranium in soils and rocks. It is measured using special monitors and expressed in units of bequerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3) or picocuries per litre (pCi/L). Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America. It claims 20-25,000 lives annually, according to the US EPA and US Surgeon General. The World Health Organization estimates radon causes up to 15% of lung cancer deaths worldwide. Health Canada puts this number at 16% after the results of their 2009-2011 cross-Canada indoor radon survey.

How does it get into my home or workplace?

The air pressure inside your home is usually lower than in the soil surrounding the foundation. This difference in pressure draws air and other gases, including radon, from the soil into your home.

Radon can enter a home or workplace wherever it finds an opening. This can be where the house or building contacts the soil, cracks in foundation walls and in floor slabs, construction joints, gaps around pipes, support posts, window casements, floor drains, sumps or cavities inside walls. Radon can also enter via building construction materials, such as sand and gravel (cement) and granite (granite counter tops and tile floors) depending on their source and natural uranium content.

Health risks associated with Radon Gas

Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, and a smoker who is also exposed to radon has a significantly higher risk of lung cancer.

Overall, radon is estimated to be responsible for approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the US alone. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates radon causes up to 15% of lung cancers worldwide, and Health Canada puts this number at 16%.
When you breath radon gas, some of the particles can settle in your lung tissue and begin to decay. As the radon particles decay they release bursts of energy that can damage the lung tissue cells. Over time the cell damage can lead to the development of cancer.

Radon Gas Standards

Your risk of developing lung cancer from radon depends on the concentration of radon in the air you breathe, and the length of time you are exposed. Recent studies by the WHO have confirmed that the lung cancer risk extends to radon levels well below the current standards in North America and Europe. Health Canada recommends that all homeowners test their homes for radon gas to ensure their family safety. 

• WHO -100 Bq/m³ = 2.7 pCi/L
• USA - 150 Bq/m³ = 4.0 pCi/L
• Canada - 200 Bq/m³ = 5.4 pCi/L

Source: http://radoncorp.com/radon_gas.html


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