High Radon Levels in Atlanta, Georgia and their Risk
Radon gas buildup is a widespread problem in the Atlanta area. Radon is a radioactive gas that can leak out of the soil and seep into homes throughout the United States. However, due to Atlanta’s proximity to wide-ranging underground granite formations, homes in this the area are particularly likely to contain high radon levels. Once radon gas gets inside a house, it becomes trapped by modern construction methods that keep homes tightly sealed and energy-compliant. The Environmental Protection Agency states that radon gas is a class A carcinogen and is the number one reason for lung cancer among non-smokers in America.
Characteristics of High Radon Levels
Radon is an invisible and odorless radioactive gas. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States after smoking. It occurs naturally in caves, mines and water treatment plants. Radon that seeps up from the ground can find its way into houses and other structures through concrete, cracks, small holes, floor gaps, drains or small spaces in the basement or foundation. The minimum indoor level of radon is usually around 1.2 pCi/L. Since radon is a natural part of the environment, a zero level radon reading is virtually impossible. The EPA has decided that 4.0 pCi/L is the cutoff for dangerous radon levels in schools, homes and places of work. They calculate that nearly 21,000 individuals die each year from exposure to high radon levels alone. In fact, living in a home with radon levels above the EPA’s suggested limit of 4.0 pCi/1 impacts your health as much as smoking half a pack of cigarettes per day.
Radon Levels and Purchasing a Home
The EPA suggests that every home should be tested regularly for high radon levels, especially those located within the metro Atlanta area. If you are considering buying a home in Atlanta, regardless of the home’s age, you should have it tested as part of the inspection process since the previous owners may not have properly dealt with the issue.
After having your home’s radon levels tested, the EPA suggests that anyone who discovers high levels of radon gas in their home immediately take steps to correct the problem. This will generally require the installation of a professional radon gas mitigation system from SWAT Environmental. If the high levels of radon gas are discovered during an inspection prior to a real estate sale, the buyer and seller should reach an agreement to have this type of system installed in advance. Even if you do not plan to sell your home, however, you should still have the radon gas lowered to safe levels to ensure that you and your family members are not being put at risk simply by living in your house. If the initial test does not detect dangerous radon levels, continue to have tests done regularly to ensure that no problem develops.
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