Exposure to radioactive radon gas, which emanates naturally from soil
and rock in most parts of the world, has long been known to cause lung
cancer. But more recent research, performed at the University of North
Dakota, indicates that radon may be a significant cause of two diseases
of the brain: Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The radon gas emitted
from soil and rock is not a hazard in the open air. But radon gas can
accumulate in dangerous concentrations in the interior of a building.
Crawl space foundations with dirt floors are especially prone to high
radon concentration, but this potentially lethal gas can also accumulate
in a basement or above a concrete slab foundation. It migrates easily
to other parts of the house, especially in downstairs rooms. Since radon
gas is odorless, invisible and noncombustible, the only way to detect
its presence is by using special testing devices. From the lungs to the brain
most immediate effect of inhaled radon gas is lung tissue being exposed
to radioactive particles –a known cause of lung cancer. But after being
inhaled into the lungs, radon gas enters the bloodstream. Research has
shown that radioactive byproducts of radon gas tend to accumulate in
brain tissue, where they can do additional damage. Lab technicians at
the University of North Dakota discovered that radioactive radon
concentrations in the brains of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
patients were (on average) 10 times greater than in the brains of
persons with no Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
the findings above, it’s not surprising that the geographic
distribution of people who die from Parkinson’s disease is higher in
states with greater radon contamination potential. All of these
statistics point to some very basic and affordable preventative
measures: testing for radon and (if necessary) hiring a radon mitigation
specialist to install a radon abatement system. Radon test kits are
available from hardware stores, home centers and online sources. These
low-priced kits (around $20 or so) will give reliable radon readings as
long as the homeowner follows the manufacturer’s directions to the
letter. Alternatively, it’s possible for a radon mitigation contractor
to perform the radon test.
If radon levels are detected above or
close to the EPA’s maximum exposure threshold of 4 picocuries per
liter, you’ll want to install a radon abatement system to protect
building occupants from potentially lethal exposure. The typical radon
abatement system has a single moving part: the fan that pulls radon-rich
air from the soil beneath the foundation floor and expels it outside
where it dissipates into the air. When installed by an experienced radon
specialist, such a system works effectively and reliably with minimum
maintenance required. When you consider the statistics on radon’s
harmful effects, radon testing and mitigation definitely qualify as
About the Author: Contact the experts at National
Radon Defense for more information about radon testing and radon fans.
Want to test your home for radon before discussing any further options? Buy radon test kits
online at our site.