Radon is a colorless, tasteless, odorless, radioactive, and invisible noble gas that rises from decomposing soil. It can enter homes and is especially common in subterranean areas such as basements due to its density. When this gas decays, it breaks down into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. As the particles continue to decay, they release small bursts of energy that can damage lung tissue and may lead to lung cancer in some people. It is the largest contributor to an individual’s background radiation dose and is the second leading cause of lung cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that radon causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S.
Exposure to this gas over your lifetime can increase the risk of developing lung cancer, regardless of whether you are a smoker. The level of exposure to gas differs from place to place. Unfortunately, Jefferson County has a predicted average indoor radon screening levels from 2 to 4 picocuries per liter of air or pCi/L. That puts it in zone 2, a medium danger threat. About 40 percent of homes in the state of Idaho that were tested for the noble gas showed unsafe levels, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Side effects of exposure include wheezing, persistent coughing, shortness of breath, frequent illnesses like bronchitis, and chest pains.
In 1904 Ernest Rutherford, a Canadian scientist, discovered Radon. This noble gas that comes out of the ground, say in your front lawn or a field dilutes to almost nothing instantaneously. However, in human-made structures, our apartments, it can accumulate to quite dramatic levels, sometimes very hazardous concentrations. So, while it is a natural thing it is unnatural in the way it is concentrated. This problem of condensed exposure wasn’t brought fully to light until 1984. Since then companies like Teton Radon Services have been helping to protect us from potentially dangerous radiation.
When testing for the threat of the gas we use a few different tests. Charcoal testing is one method, professionals install a canister containing a quantity of granular activated carbon. This canister then absorbs the dangerous gas from the surrounding air. This short-term test lasts a minimum of 48 hours or up to 7 days. We also use professionally installed Continuous Radon Monitors (CPM) to ensure accurate results. These long-term test kits give a better estimate of the amount of radon in your home throughout the year.
Though not legally required we take several steps to ensure your safety. Due to the high levels of pCi/L in Jefferson County and the high health risks associated with prolonged exposure we take several preventative steps to ensure your safety. We work with Teton Radon Services to test for and mitigate any potential gas buildup. A quality radon mitigation system is generally able to reduce the amount of radon in your home to below 2 pCi/L. Teton Radon Services have designed and built custom mitigation systems to suit our commercial needs.