Archive for June, 2012
Radon Levels in Pittsburgh
Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that can potentially cause cancer. It seeps up from the ground and enters homes and buildings. Lung cancer caused by radon claims 20,000 lives per year, making it the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Some studies show that children can be at greater risk from radon exposure due to their higher respiratory rate and quickly dividing cells. Since you cannot see, taste or smell radon you may live in a building that contains dangerously high radon levels and yet be completely unaware of the fact.
All areas of western Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, are vulnerable to high radon levels. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, an indoor radon level higher than four picocuries per liter can be dangerous. A steady exposure to 13 picocuries presents an equal cancer risk to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Records show that 57 percent of all western Pennsylvania homes contain levels that exceed the EPA-recommended four picocuries per liter. The EPA does not report scores to residents or alert them to a problem unless the level is 100 or greater. Alarmingly, some areas of Pittsburgh even have levels between 8.4 all the way up to 859. Household levels over 1,000 have been seen by the state Department of Environmental Protection radiation office. A spokesperson from the DEA even reported that some houses contain high enough levels to put them on par with a uranium mine.
What Causes Increased Radon Levels in Pittsburgh Homes?
Soil in Pittsburgh is rich in uranium-bearing shale, which causes radon to be released. Because radon comes from the ground, any kind of cracks in the foundation or renovation work in your home can increase radon levels. Even simple drain work can potentially open up a means for radon to enter your house through the foundation wall. One home could have zero problems with radon, while the house next door could have very high levels.
Detection and Correction of Dangerously High Radon Levels in Pittsburgh
Luckily detection and correction of problematic radon levels is a fairly simple process. If you live in Pittsburgh, it is wise to have your home’s radon levels checked, either yourself with a home kit or via a professional test from SWAT Environmental. These simple tests can tell you if your Pittsburgh home has a problem with radon or not. If you find high radon levels in your house, SWAT Environmental’s custom mitigation system is your answer. This involves placing a pipe into the ground and using a fan to draw the radon gas away from your home. It is also important to retest your radon levels every few years, as they can change.
Radon exposure can be scary to think about. However, with a few simple steps you can detect and correct any radon problems your Pittsburgh home may have. Your health and that of those living with you will thank you for it.
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