Radon is a radioactive element that exists in the form of a colorless, odorless gas and is produced due to the decay of another highly radioactive element Uranium. It is naturally found in the soils as well in the atmosphere in a small concentration. An exposure to a small concentration of radon is safe however prolonged exposure to a high concentration of radon is a health hazard. According to experts, radon is trapped inside buildings with poor or no ventilation and water reservoirs which leads to an increase in its concentration. An estimate states that radon exposure is the cause of 26% deaths due to lung cancer in nonsmokers.
In order to tackle this issue a procedure called Radon Mitigation is performed. It is defined as the steps and procedures used to decrease the radon concentration in closed buildings and water reservoirs. Before utilizing mitigation a serious of thorough testing is employed to calculate the extent of the problem and analyze its sources and causes. The testing is also employed after mitigation to conclude to what extend the procedure has been proven helpful.
There are various methods that are used for the purpose of mitigation. The chosen method depends on the severity of Radon mitigation problem and causes. Some popular methods are as follows:
- Natural Ventilation:
This method is the simplest method which involves removing the radon filled air and replacing it with fresh air via opening the doors and windows and neutralizing the pressure. The procedure is performed as close to the source of radon as possible to make it highly effective. It is the most cost effective technique as no setup or equipment is required. However this method is limited by the fact that it is not practical to be utilized all year around due to weather constraints.
- Forced Ventilation:
This method works on the same principle as the natural ventilation but uses a forced fan for ventilation rather than depending on the natural air. Therefore this method is preferred when dealing with houses that have poor air crossing. It is a little costly as compared to the first method because the cost of electricity and fans is included. The limitations are similar to the prior mentioned method as well due to weather conditions and utilization of heating and cooling systems to maintain temperature afterwards.
- Sealing Cracks and Openings:
This method works by sealing the entrance source of radon. Since radon is found in the soil in a little concentration therefore sometimes the source of radon emission is cracks and openings in the soil and the ground. Some openings that are usually the sources of radon entrance include gaps between the pipe joints and cracks on top of concrete blocks. This method is a bit ineffective as it is impossible to fill all the gaps in the house as well as even if done properly it is only effective to decrease the radon concentration to a limited extent.
Despite the fact that high radon exposure for a long time is deadly precautions and safety measures can prevent any loss or health issue. One only needs to be well aware of the building conditions and perform radon mitigation as soon as necessary without delay.