Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, naturally occurring radioactive gas produced from the decay of the element radium, which occurs naturally in rocks and soil worldwide. Radon gas can dissolve in groundwater and later be released into the air during such normal household activities as showering, dishwashing and doing laundry. When radon accumulates in indoor air it can pose an increased health risk, primarily, lung cancer.>
How does Radon enter your home?
In general, the migration of radon up from the soil contributes the largest percent of radon found in the average home. It escapes from the earth's crust through cracks and crevices in bedrock and either dissolves in groundwater or seeps through foundation cracks into basements and homes. Radon from a groundwater type water supply source, particularly a bedrock well (also known as an artesian or drilled well), contributes the next largest percentage of radon in the home. If radon is discovered in water, it is likely that radon is entering the house through the basement as well.
What are the Health Risks from Radon?
The primary risk pathway from exposure to radon gas is through inhalation of radon-laden air in a home. Studies indicate that high levels of radon gas in the air increase the risk of lung cancer. Generally, ingested waterborne radon is not a major cause for concern. Although scientists have linked cases of stomach cancer to radon.
Do You Have a Well?
Well owners with elevated indoor radon levels should test their well water for radon. Radon in your water supply can increase your indoor radon level, although, in most cases, radon entering the home through water will be a small source of risk compared with radon entering from the soil. However, when water is agitated, as when showering or washing dishes or doing laundry, radon escapes into the air.
How is Radon Removed From Water?
Radon can be removed from water by using one of two methods: aeration treatment or granular activated carbon (GAC) treatment. Aeration treatment requires spraying water or mixing it with air, and then venting the air from the water before use. GAC treatment filters water through carbon. Radon attaches to the carbon and leaves the water free of radon. The carbon may need to be disposed of with special care if it is used at a high radon level or if it has been used for a long time. In either treatment, it is important to treat the water where it enters your home (point-of-entry system) so that all the water will be treated.