Radon information.

We have a Radon problem. A house up the street has 90 picoCuries (owners emit a slight blue glow at night 'g'). The next in line has 40, the next is 12 and then there is ours, not yet tested.
I have been trying to get info off the 'Net regarding Radon exposures. So far the best I have obtained refers to a lifetime of exposure (whatever that means). For example, a lifetime exposure of 10 indicates that 18 people out of a thousand "could" come down with lung cancer. This is twenty times the probability that we could die in a house fire.
As indicated this is all based on a lifetime's exposure. What I need to know is the risk of exposure of a much shorter time, say, two years.
Does anyone know of a data source(s) where I can search for the info I want? Also is there another NG I should consult?
Peter
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PVR wrote:

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There is very little information as to the actual effects of radon on the human body. In fact there are many claims of therapeutic benefits for respiratory and arthritic ailments. People flock to so called Radon caves. These underground caves have many times the considered dangerous limits.
http://www.radonmine.com/resource.html
Acute (short term) exposures typically are not the problem, whereas the low dose 7 days a week, 365 days a year is what can lead to accumulated health problems.
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PVR wrote:

On that basis, one could project something on the order of 4 pCi(/l)... :) Peculiar that there's such a gradient--must be some underlying reason for that assuming the houses in a subdivision are roughly same vintage and construction.

There's a link from the EPA site
http://www.epa.gov/radon/risk_assessment.html
that has a secondary link to a revised study that is supposed to have a risk model to calculate a numerical estimate of the risk per unit exposure [lung cancer deaths per working level month (WLM)].
www.epa.gov/radiation/docs/assessment/402-r-03-003.pdf
I'd note the use of "calculate" above...the uncertainty range on that same page for the estimated number of annual mortalities from Ra-related lung cancers varies from a minimum of roughly 40% to a maximum of 200% -- enough to indicate the data are simply not more than ballpark guesses.
That there's some additional risk is reasonably clear, but to think it's possible to get an actual value that's more than that is just wishful thinking....
In other words, from my viewpoint, get the test, if it's <really> high consider some abatement perhaps, but it is highly unlikely it will be a serious health problem. Of course, statistics and probablilities being what the are, you <could> be the next case tomorrow whether you do something or not.
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I think this radon thing is a lot of BS and just a money making scheme for a few to get rich. All of a sudden a scare tactic is sent out to everyone. Smoking is the cancer cause not the so-called radon in homes. I would like to see at least one case caused by radon in homes.

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Bob wrote:

....
Certainly smoking is a far greater risk...if you'll follow the links I posted you'll see a table which lists the estimated differences from smoking, general population and the Ra-related mortalities from lung cancer. There is an increase from Ra above the general population but nowhere near that of the smoking population.
In general, I don't disagree too much, however--I think, like many other things, it's easy for it to be blown out of proportion and certainly there are those who use it, like virtually anything else, as an opportunity.
And, unfortunately, there's no way to pinpoint <precisely> the cause of any specific malignancy in any given individual--it's all epidemiological evidence--as I pointed out in my previous response.
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

...
Just to be precise, the table doesn't give <differences> it provides total estimated for the three classes...
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I would apply some comom sense fixes to your basement, paint the cynder block wall with water proof paint and seal any cracks. All this stuff will help keep out dampness as well. You may have to add a ventilation system to the basement. If you have hot air heat, make sure there are no open return ducts in the basment. You may want to hav eone open feed duct. You want to try to establish a positive pressure in the basment and never a negative pressure.
There are cheap test kits. I think 4 pc/li is the "legal" limit.
Mark
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I agree. Use the test kits in various low lying areas of your house to see if you get any elevated readings. Also realize, in some areas of the country, the water contains disolved radon and may release it while you are running the shower. Other sources of radon could be releasing the gas into you basement from the earth.
Radon is a heavy gas that tends to seek the lowest level of your living quarters. If you have it you may need a mitigation solution that uses blowers and pipes to vent it outside of your house.
Beachcomber
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FYI.... Radon has also been implicated as a byproduct of tobacco smoke, albeit small concentrations. I can't quote where I read this, but consider it searchable if you are really concerned about smoking/radon debates in relation to CA.
Dr. B.
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I've never heard of that. Although nobody in my household smokes, including myself, there are about 50 toxic compounds in tobacco smoke including cyanides and carbon monoxide. There is a map that shows the areas of the US where there are high concentrations of naturally occurring radon. I reside in such an area and had my house tested for radon before I purchased the house. Use of tobacco and constant exposure to high levels of radon greatly increases the chance of lung cancer.
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PVR wrote:

Hint. It sounds like you now have a home with a KNOWN problem. That means when you go to sell it you will likely be required to disclose that fact to potential buyers. Check with a local authority or attorney to verify that.
In any case, it is like cigarette smoking. You can't say how much is too much, any amount increases the provability. Have it checked and take appropriate action.
--
Joseph Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
  Click to see the full signature.
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We have interior and exterior perimeter basement waterproofing with
sump hole in the concrete basement floor. Can I just put a rado pumping tube in the sump hole and pump it out throuth the roof. Do need to seal around the sump lid to pumping tube to prevent basemen air from being pumped out instead of the sub basement air? PVR Wrote:

-- Bob Arens
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