What many people are not aware of is that Radon gas is always present in the home or building. Radon is always in the soil everywhere, which means that everyone should be knowledgeable about what Radon gas is and how it should be handled. What makes this gas dangerous depends on the levels that are present. The only way to find out what the levels are in the home is to test, using a test kit or monitor that can be purchased through Radon mitigation sites like SWAT Environmental.
Radon is measured in picoCuries per liter of air (pCi/L). A Curie is a unit of radioactivity that is equivalent to 1 gram of radium. “Pico” means a trillionth. People may have the question regarding what level of Radon gas is safe. Putting it simply, a safe level of Radon gas is no Radon gas. Unfortunately having no Radon gas in the home is impossible. There will always be levels, but what matters is how high the levels are. What makes Radon gas presence in the home so dangerous is that the average family receives a higher dose of radiation from the Radon gas in their home than from combined exposure to all radiation sources. Depending on the geographic location of the home, homeowners may not have the same levels as their neighbors or extended family.
Levels fluctuate on a day-to-day basis. The levels of Radon gas that show in the home might vary due to the different seasons, the weather (like droughts or thunderstorms), and how many windows or outside doors are open at a given time. The Air Pressure Differentials (APD’s) in the home might be the cause of the varying Radon gas levels. Because of these APD’s, indoor Radon levels are usually higher at night and lower during the day.
The target level of Radon gas indoors is 0.4pCi/L. Many homes’ levels are much higher than this target, though. The World Health Organization (WHO) instructs that a test result level at 2.7 pCi/L should be acted on. A level below that number is seen to be safe. Similarly, the EPA suggests that a level at or above 4.0 pCi/L should be when homeowners begin the process of mitigation. Just because the WHO and the EPA have these guidelines doesn’t necessarily mean that levels below are acceptable, though. Every level has a risk of suffering the effects that Radon causes, however, the severity of the effects may be lower.
The best way to know for sure how your home ranks in Radon levels is to test and re-test. Re-testing will show how consistent the levels are, and will determine the average level of Radon gas in the home. The average number will help you determine the next steps to take, if there are any, to reduce the Radon gas presence. Mitigating for Radon gas will help homeowner find an acceptable balance of Radon and safe air to breathe. People should also be advised to maintain a healthy lifestyle so the risks of Radon gas levels stay low.