The radon should be well below 4 pc/l If not you should fix it and just
get a quieter fan. Remember, the fan may be an anoyance but radon can
kill you. Caulk if you need to but can you afford to be a skeptic??
So you might buy a few test kits and turn off the fan, then run it 12 hours
per day if it's more than 4, then 6 if it's less than 4 or 18 if more, and
so on. With noise as the issue, you might replace the fan with a long-life
light bulb at the bottom of a tall chimney.
The EPA says a non-smoker continuously exposed to 4 pCi/l has a lifetime risk
of dying of lung cancer of 73 in 10,000, ie odds of 139 to 1. At 1.25 (close
to the 1.3 average indoor level) it's down to 23/10K, ie 435:1. At 0.4 (the
average outdoor level), it's 23/100K, ie 4,348:1. So why stop at 4? Will an
electronic air filter help? The EPA plans to do more research on that.
The NSC gives 2:1 (men) and 3:1 (women) odds for contracting heart disease,
3:1 for contracting diabetes, 228:1 for death as a car occupant, 1,310:1
for death by medical complications, 4,857:1 for death as a bicyle rider,
12,417:1 for legal intervention involving firearm discharge, 55,597:1 for
death by legal execution, 56,439:1 for death by lightning, 286,537:1 for
ignition or melting of nightwear, 372,498:1 for death by contact with
venemous spiders, 413,887:1 for death by flood, and 1,241,661:1 for death
by contact with venemous snakes or lizards.
The key word there is "continuously". Unless you sleep in the
basement and plan to stay in this house for 30 years, I wouldn't worry
BTW, are all of EPA's other recommendations sensible and unaffected by
politics and money?
The lifetime odds of dying from radon at 4 pCi/l (139:1 for a non-smoker)
are about half the odds of death in a car (228:1), so it's strange that
we've spent double to avoid auto deaths, as PE Drew Gillett points out...
The EPA is apparently still looking into electronic air cleaners, which
can't reduce the gas concentration but can reduce the solid daughters of
radon particles in house dust that get into our lungs and cause problems.
I like the Envirosept charged-media filter, which uses a lot less power
(under 2 watts) than a HEPA filter.
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