Radon Gas, What Are The Risks?

Eco3 Environmental Uncategorized Radon Gas, What Are The Risks?

Let’s talk about Radon, here are a few points.

* Radon is an odorless, colorless radioactive gas, meaning, you can’t see it or smell it.

* Radon naturally occurring in the air and water from rivers/streams. (low levels)

* Higher radon levels are found indoors and from well water.

Most of the time if you have a mold issue there is an associated odor. Well, unlike mold, Radon is odorless, colorless and tasteless. Oh, do I need to mention again, it’s radioactive? 

There are two sides of the fence regarding Radon. 

Side #1 – Oh my Gosh, we detected Radon…run or you will die! 

Side #2 – You have Radon? Eh, no big deal. 

The truth is, we are all physiologically, genetically different.  We have different diets and different vocations. We are not cookie cutter people. So the EPA has to give us guidelines and standards to work with, based on what they determine to be deemed safe for the average person.

 A little background. I worked for the FDA. The FDA has a radionuclides department. I have a colleague that works for the FDA in this department and has worked for the FDA before “day-1” of the Radon craze. One day we had a great conversation about Radon and his personal thoughts on the subject. I want to make it clear his personal thoughts are not exactly the same as his employer (FDA). So, when we were talking, it was friend to friend. He told me about how the EPA/FDA became involved with Radon. 

It all started in 1984 at the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant in Pennsylvania. One day, when an unknowing employee was scanned while entering the facility, he set off the radiation detectors. To make matters worse, they could not determine how this employee became exposed. Well, as part of their investigation, and team was sent to his house where they found the source of his exposure. They detected radon gas in his house. Since that time Radon has been kicked around in the media and has scared home owners, home buyers, home inspectors, real estate agents and medical practitioners. Even within the Boston area, both sides still butt heads.

I’m going to warn you about reading any further. Bananas are radioactive! WHAT, you say? Bananas contain Potassium (K40) which is radioactive and will set of radiation detectors. I’m certainly not saying since it is OK to eat “radioactive” bananas, that it’s OK to be exposed to Radon. I’m not even comparing the two. Just like mold, Radon can be dangerous. But to whom is not clearly defined and is debated by scientists and medical practitioners all over the world.

Allow me to Paraphrase the EPA’s stance on Radon. 

The EPA states that approximately 20,000 people a year die from Radon exposure. However the number is estimated…let me repeat, estimated. So, what is the actual number and how did they come up with this number. Back in 1985 the EPA stated they estimated 30,000 people die from radon related cancer.

Risk Factors: 

* Radiation levels of Radon. 

* Duration of exposure to the Radon. 

* General Health of the occupants. 

* Age of the occupants. 

* Smokers / Non-smokers 

* Genetics

Example – If you are retired, a smoker with a bedroom and/or living space in a basement, you are more likely to be affected by prolonged exposure to Radon. If you are a young and healthy, non-smoker that has a bedroom on the second floor, you are less likely to be affected by prolonged exposure to Radon.

Mold and Radon – Is it an unhealthy relationship? It’s unknown but suspected damaged lung tissue is becomes more susceptible to additional damage. What if a specific mold has been proven to be connected to negative respiratory health issues? Again, it’s unknown. I can tell you will certainty they are not complementary in any way. 

So, what am I stating, is Radon dangerous or not? I do not take Radon lightly. I will always lean towards the side of caution. Why take a chance? However, I do not want you to be scared, I want you to be informed. So, if you have Radon issues, research the topic. No matter if it is mold or radon, be informed, not afraid.

Don’t forget – We offer free, fun mold & radon seminars for your group or organization. 

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