Radon is a highly radioactive elements produced as a byproduct due to the disintegration of radioactive matter. Its characteristics properties include that it is colorless, tasteless and odorless. The main source of radon is radioactive decay and the areas where it most commonly exists include soils, air, and underground water reservoirs. The naturally occurring fixation of radon is very minute and is harmless however if the balance of this concentration of radon is disturbed and one is exposed to this increased concentration for too long it poses a serious health threat.
Thorough researchers and case studies have been conducted to estimate the severity of the problem yet the researchers and health scientists are a little uncertain about the exact concentration of radon that can be pronounced “safe” or “acceptable”. However, a convention is followed according to which 4 picocuries per liter of radon in air is considered safe. When it comes to radon concentration in water the level which is okay is 4000 picocurie per liter.
Sources of Radon in Air:
As mentioned earlier radon naturally exists in the air. The source of radon in homes is the entrapment of radon-containing air in homes. The main cause of this is poor ventilation systems and no air crossing. The naturally existing radon in the air starts a chain reaction of disintegration producing radiation and radon daughter components. Being a chain reaction this process continues and eventually leads to an increase in the radon concentration in air.
Test for Radon Poisoning:
Due to its discrete characteristics, it is very difficult to confirm the existence of Radon in home and detection tests need to be performed in this regard. The two most common tests performed are the short-term tests and the long-term tests. The short-term tests provide the test results quicker and require only 3 hours to a week to determine the radon concentration. A drawback of using this test is that space, where this is being performed, needs to be vacated. The long-term tests, on the other hand, need somewhere between 3 months to a year to determine the radon concentration. But the long-term tests are considered more accurate and precise by the experts.
Methods of Radon Mitigation:
Once the existence of radon in home has been confirmed a process called radon mitigation needs to be performed to decrease the radon fixation in the space to prevent the health hazard caused by radon exposure. Some commonly performed procedures include:
- Natural Ventilation:
The name indicates the principle of this technique. The doors and windows of the area affected by high radon concentration area are opened to allow air flow. This drives the contaminated air outside and allows fresh air to enter.
- Forced Ventilation:
In houses where the natural ventilation is not possible due to the wrong structure of the building or misplaced windows, forced ventilation is used. This involves the installation of huge fans and exhausting systems that drive the contaminated air out and replace it with fresh air.
- Heat Recovery Ventilation:
A device called the Heat Recovery Ventilation device is installed at the affected site which removes the radon particles by warming the incoming air and balances the proportion of radon in air.