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Know The Risks of Lincoln’s High Radon Levels

Radon Testing | Radon Contractor Lincoln NE

Radon testing is beneficial for every home in the Lincoln, NE area and surrounding areas. Although the testing process for radon is simple, it is an important step for homeowners to take toward further education about the silent threat and the safety of loved ones in the home.

What is Radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas that forms naturally as uranium, thorium, and/or radium decay. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these are each radioactive metals that are breaking down in rocks, soil and groundwater beneath the earth surface.

How Does Radon Enter Your Home?

Since radon is a gas that is a byproduct of the breaking down of naturally radioactive metals found in our soil, it’s feasible your home could be sitting atop high levels of radon production. Radon, being a gas, only needs the smallest of avenue to enter your home. Radon gas commonly enters the home through cracks or gaps in your foundation slab, however it can penetrate through the pores of the concrete slab as well.

Health Risks

Invisible Threat to Respiratory Health:

Why Radon Testing is Important a Look at Radon By the NumbersProlonged inhalation of radon gas poses a direct threat to the respiratory system. When radon decays, it releases radioactive particles known as radon progeny or radon daughters. These particles, if inhaled, can become lodged in the lungs, emitting alpha radiation. The emitted radiation has the potential to damage lung tissue, increasing the risk of lung cancer.

Lung Cancer Risk:

The primary health concern associated with radon exposure is the elevated risk of developing lung cancer. Radon is recognized as the second leading cause of lung cancer globally, and it is estimated that radon-induced lung cancer claims thousands of lives each year. It is important to note that this risk is not exclusive to smokers; even non-smokers can succumb to the detrimental effects of radon exposure.

Cumulative Nature of Risk:

Radon-induced lung cancer risk is cumulative, meaning the longer the exposure, the higher the risk. Unlike some environmental pollutants that may exhibit immediate health effects, radon acts stealthily over an extended period. Consequently, individuals may not manifest symptoms until the disease has reached an advanced stage, underscoring the importance of proactive testing and mitigation measures.

Children and Radon Exposure:

Children, with their higher respiratory rates and developing lung tissues, may face an increased vulnerability to the effects of radon exposure. Long-term exposure during childhood can potentially contribute to a higher lifetime risk of lung cancer. Thus, assessing and mitigating radon levels are paramount for creating a safe living environment for all occupants, irrespective of age.

Secondary Risks:

Beyond lung cancer, emerging research suggests potential links between radon exposure and other respiratory conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). While more studies are needed to establish these associations definitively, they highlight the multifaceted impact of radon on respiratory health.

The Need for Radon Testing

Invisible Threats

One of the most challenging aspects of dealing with radon lies in its imperceptible nature. Unlike other environmental pollutants that may manifest with noticeable odors or visible signs, radon is both colorless and odorless. This inherent invisibility renders it a silent intruder, infiltrating homes without leaving any discernible trace. Homeowners may remain blissfully unaware of its presence, unknowingly exposing themselves and their families to potential health hazards.

Risks of Neglecting Radon:

Given radon’s elusive characteristics, its detection relies solely on proactive testing measures. Neglecting to test for radon allows this invisible menace to persist unchecked, posing an ongoing threat to the occupants’ health. The consequences of prolonged exposure may not become apparent until years later when the insidious effects of radon-induced lung cancer begin to manifest. By then, preventive measures could be less effective, underscoring the urgency of early detection through systematic radon testing.

Geographical Variations

Nebraska as a state has the third highest average radon level in the United States, only lower than Iowa and Pennsylvania. This high rate is due to the fact that the Radon source of decomposing rock layer is closer to the earth surface than in other states. This means on average home in Nebraska, Lincoln NE included, are more likely to have a higher radon level than other areas of the nation.

Influence of Construction Techniques On Radon Levels

As a gas, radon doesn’t have a preference of the space it infiltrates. Whether your home has a basement, is a single storey/slab on grade or crawl space home, radon is present. What is important is the level of radon presence and the amount of exposure in these high-level spaces. In Nebraska, many homes are built with a basement that is highly utilized. Spending large amounts of time in the area of the home that has the highest concentrated level of radon is hazardous. When testing an older home, the radon level could dissipate as you move up in levels, which often stems from older homes being leakier than new construction homes. Just because older homes are more likely to have air infiltration doesn’t mean they are safe from the dangers of radon. It is still very import

Officials nationwide have made a concerted effort to increase the awareness of the commonality and dangers of radon. Due to this heightened awareness local building codes have implemented requirements for installation of passive radon mitigation systems in all new homes. This goes to show just how seriously our local officials take the dangers of radon. Although passive systems can help with your radon levels, some homes still may need the passive system converted into a powered/active mitigation system to bring levels within safe ranges.

Types of Radon Testing

DIY Radon Test Kits

Home Do-It-Yourself test kits can be purchased in various manners. Kits are available online or can be found at many home improvement or hardware stores as well. These kits typically require a testing period of 3 to 7 days depending on the kit’s specific requirements. Once the collection or in-home testing period has been completed the kit will need to be sent off to the designated testing facility. Many of these tests will require an additional testing fee beyond the purchase price of the kit. Results will determine the highest level of radon during that time that the test was taken. Make sure to keep all windows and exterior doors closed as much as possible including a 12-hour period before beginning the test.

Professional Radon Testing by Bryant

Bryant uses professional testing equipment that will not only produce very accurate, but more detailed reporting than the DIY tests. Our testing professionals will be able to see the variances of your home radon levels throughout the testing period. Some of these variances can help in determining the need and solution options for your home in mitigating any radon issue. As with the DIY test a 12-hour preparation period is required with your home’s windows and exterior door kept closed. Bryant’s professional radon tests require a 48–72-hour testing cycle, with most test results returned within 24 hours.

Bryant testing professionals are very knowledgeable and will go through your test reports, helping you better understand the results and next steps.

No doubt about it, radon is a harmful gas found in high concentrations in the Lincoln NE area. Performing a radon test in your home is a simple task whether performed with a DIY testing kit or by a professional. With the health concerns caused by radon and the inexpensive cost of radon testing, the benefits far outweigh ignoring the invisible dangers in your home. Bryant offers radon testing and mitigation services. Give us a call or request a radon test from our website.