Basement Radon: Your Family’s Kryptonite
Radon is a potentially lethal odorless and colorless gas that naturally occurs when uranium deposits break down in your soil. Radon has been found in every state in the country. When Radon gas is created in your basement, if left untreated or undetected, it can enter your home through the flooring or ventilation system as dust. Then, the Radon mixes with the air that you breathe. Radon has been known to cause lung cancer. Fortunately, home testing, proper basement ventilation, and new basement design can help prevent radon motes from seeping into your home.
Test, Then Treat
You can purchase radon test kits at your local home improvement store or online. Considering their relative low cost, this is a great way to begin. The test will sample your basement air over the course of several weeks. You mail in the test and if the results say your radon level exceeds 4 picocuries (pC/L), you may want to test again or consider radon treatment.
Lessening the Effects
Scientists differ over the effectiveness of basement sealant in treating your home against radon. There are water-based, penetrating concrete sealers that some contractors use, but the EPA is not convinced that these sealers are effective. Many people recommend the installation of sub-slab depressurization systems that wick the radon from the soil.
Another radon remediation treatment is the process of venting the soil under the basement to the air above your house where it is released into the atmosphere. Every house is different and may require its own solution. If yours tests high in radon emissions, it pays to contact your local health department to learn what specific treatments have been effective in your area.