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Radon Detectors

May 23, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

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Silent and potentially deadly, the U.S. Surgeon General has said that radon gas is the second largest contributor of lung cancer. Radon gas is found in the atmosphere and in some indoor environments. Outdoors, trace amounts are defused and harmless. In enclosed spaces however, the gas becomes deadly.

Although fewer than one-tenth of one percent of homes are likely to contain dangerous levels of radon, health agencies recommend that all families test their home (below the third level) to ensure radon levels are not dangerous. Radon detectors are necessary because the gas is odorless and colorless making it impossible to detect without proper technology.

What Creates Radon?

Radon is a gas that is released from the decomposition of rock matter. It is released from uranium, granite, shale and phosphates. Radon can also be produced from soils where industrial waste has been dumped. Over time, as radon decays, it creates toxic byproducts. These harmful particles are responsible for the lung problems researched by the U.S. Surgeon General.

Radon Detecting Options

There are two basic ways to detect radon in an enclosed space:
  • Test through a commercial service.
    • This is the costlier option
  • Buy a radon home testing kit.
    • Kits can be purchased for reasonable amounts (as low as $15).
    • The kit measures radon in the enclosed space for up to 90 days.
    • The kit is then sent to a lab for review.  
      • Lab service is usually paid for in purchase price

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