January 2, 2012

Radon Gas in Colchester CT

Radon Gas in Colchester CT One of the questions Realtors get all the time is, “What is Radon and do we need to test for it?” Radon is a naturally occurring gas present in very low levels in the air we breathe and the water we drink. It is can be found in higher levels in closed spaces like houses. Uranium decays into Radium that in turn decays into Radon gas. The gas given off by rocks and soil can enter buildings through cracks or gaps in floors or walls and the highest levels are usually found in basements or crawl spaces. Miners and people who work with phosphates may be at a higher risk of radon exposure, but most of us are exposed to radon from being in a home or other building. The level of radon varies depending on the local characteristics of rocks and soil in the area. Levels can vary greatly even within the same neighborhood. There is a significant difference of opinion regarding the danger. The US Cancer Society reports that Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, far behind cigarette smoking causing about 20,000 deaths per year. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization) has classified Radon as “carcinogenic to humans.” The National Toxicology Program (NTP) has classified it as “known to be a human carcinogen,” but the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not classified radon’s carcinogenicity. Testing is done with a passive sensor, usually placed in the basement of the building for a period of at least 2 days. If levels are high, a mitigation system can be installed that vents air from the basement area. For more information, go to www.cancer.org.