Keep Yourself and your Family Safe

Radon is the second-leading cause of cancer.
You can't smell it, see it or taste it but it might be present in your home

Keep Yourself and your Family Safe

In 1984, the scientific world woke up to the existence of radon in homes. A construction engineer triggered radiation alarms while entering the Limerick nuclear power plant near Philadelphia. His home in Boyertown was tested and the radon concentration was a shocking 2,700 pCi/L.

The family, including small children, was immediately evacuated. Very high radon levels were also sound in nearby houses. This region, known as the Reading Prong, has low-grade uranium deposits and encompasses parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. Source: American Academy of Pediatrics - The radon record.

Radon up your nose!

About 600,000 workers were exposed to radioactive materials in 14 nuclear weapons plants since the beginning of the Manhattan Project. Their radiation exposure was within the official "safety limits." However, increased rates of leukemia, cancers, vision difficulties, chronic fatigue syndrome and other health problems have been observed. The identified 22 types of cancers include cancer of the lung, prostate, bladder, kidney, and Hodgkin's lymphoma. Some scientists believe that radiation damages the human immune system, leaving people vulnerable to a wide range of other diseases.

Until 1999, the U.S. government disputed reports that low-level ionizing radiation is harmful. DOE and DOD waged media campaigns against "fear mongers" and spent tens of millions of dollars on lawyers. Then, after decades of denials, the government finally conceded that the radiation exposure to workers at nuclear weapons plants caused a wide range of cancers. President Clinton apologized to the "heroes of the nuclear age." But by then, many have died. The US Congress agreed to pay out $150.000 to each of the sick survivors, but denied them unlimited healthcare. Although private companies ran many of these plants for profit, the U.S. taxpayers will pick up the tab. Source: The New York Times, January 29, 2000


Dr. John Gofman, a prominent radiologist who helped to build the first nuclear bombs, concluded that medical irradiation has caused most of the cancers and coronary heart diseases in the twentieth century. He studied mortality rates from 1940 to 1990 of the entire U.S. population. He found that the mortality rates for cancers and coronary heart disease increase proportionally with the number of physicians per 100,000 people in each region, while all other diseases decrease. More physicians in a region means more x-rays to its population. In the case of coronary heart disease, the cause appears to be radiation-induced mutations in the coronary arteries.

Statistical analysis shows that medical irradiation has caused over a half of all cancers, two thirds of coronary heart diseases, and over 80% of breast cancers in the US. Dr. Gofman stresses that the radiation from each medical or dental x-ray can be reduced several-fold without sacrificing accuracy. All x-ray machines should be regularly calibrated and the doses measured. People should refuse unnecessary x-rays.

John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph.D. 1999: Radiation from Medical Procedures in the Pathogenesis of Cancer and Ischemic Heart Disease

Dog saves people from radon
Back in the late 80's, I had a client whose dog died prematurely. They took it to the vet and x-rays showed the dog died from lung cancer. They then tested their home and found radon concentrations of 150 pCi/l! The owners stated that their dog probably saved their lives.

Source: Jay Bauder, Bauder Basement Systems, Inc

Radon is a chemically inert, naturally occurring radioactive gas without odour, colour or taste. It is produced from radium in the decay chain of uranium, an element found in varying amounts in all rocks and soil all over the world. Radon gas escapes easily from the ground into the air and disintegrates through short-lived decay products called radon daughters or radon progeny.

Airborne Radon causes over 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the United States. Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell or taste. Its presence in your home can pose a danger to your family's health. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America.

The short-lived progeny, which decay emitting heavily ionizing radiation called alpha particles, can be electrically charged and attach to aerosols, dust and other particles in the air we breathe. As a result, radon progeny may be deposited on the cells lining the airways where the alpha particles can damage the DNA and potentially cause lung cancer.

When radon gas itself is inhaled, most is exhaled before it decays. A small part of the inhaled radon and its progeny may be transferred from the lungs to the blood and finally to other organs.

Due to dilution in the air, outdoor radon levels are usually very low. Radon can also be found in drinking water, the concentration depending on the water source, and this can sometimes present a hazard. Radon levels are higher indoors, and much higher radon concentrations can be found in places such as mines, caves and water treatment facilities. Health effects have been found in, for example, miners. However, the lower concentrations - found, for example, in normal buildings and to which large populations are exposed – also confer health risks. For most people, by far the greatest exposure to radon comes in the home.

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I really hope you Lovely people have your colloidal silver units

Radon in homes
The concentration of radon in a home depends on the amount of radon-producing uranium in the underlying rocks and soils, the routes available for its passage into the home and the rate of exchange between indoor and outdoor air. Radon gas enters houses through openings such as cracks at concrete floor-wall junctions, gaps in the floor, small pores in hollow-block walls, and through sumps and drains. Consequently, radon levels are usually higher in basements, cellars or other structural areas in contact with soil.

How does it get into my home?

Any home may have a radon problem, including your home!

Radon is a radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.

Exchange of indoor air with the outside depends on the construction of the house, ventilation habits of the inhabitants, and sealing of windows. The radon concentration in houses directly adjacent to each other can be very different. Radon concentrations within a home can vary with the time of the year, from day to day and from hour to hour. Because of these fluctuations, estimation of the annual mean concentration of radon in indoor air requires reliable measurements of mean radon concentrations for at least three months and preferably longer. Short term radon measurements give only limited information.

Death by lung cancer from radon exposure exceeds the number of deaths per year due to drunk driving, falls in the home, drownings and home fires!
The amount of radon in a building is dependent upon several factors. These factors include the geology, a driving force, pathways into the building, and the ventilation rate. As the concentration of uranium is in the underlying soil increases, so does the strength of the radon. Radon is transported to buildings more easily through permeable soils. Buildings can create pressure differentials that will draw in the soil gases. Radon can enter the building through many paths such as cracks in the foundation, utility penetrations, sumps, and floor drains. The ventilation rate of the building affects the final radon concentration.

Radon radioactivity is measured in becquerels (Bq). One becquerel corresponds to the transformation (disintegration) of one atomic nucleus per second. Radon concentration in air is measured as the number of transformations per second in a cubic metre of air (Bq/m3). The average radon level outdoors varies between 5 and 15 Bq/m3, but both higher and lower values have been observed.

Based on a series of surveys, the global mean indoor radon concentration is estimated to be 39 Bq/m3, with marked variation between countries reported by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR). Very high radon concentrations (>1000 Bq/m3) have been found in countries where houses are built on soils with a high uranium content and/or high permeability of the ground. In specific geological formations found, for example, in many European countries, radon released from underground waters easily permeates through the rock to the surface and into buildings. Overall, many countries around the world may have tens of thousands of houses with indoor radon concentrations above levels considered acceptable

Radon and Real Estate

Health effects of Radon

The main health hazard from high radon exposure is an increased risk of lung cancer. This has been substantiated in many studies of uranium miners.

Based on these studies, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a WHO agency specializing in cancer, and the US National Toxicology Programme have classified radon as a human carcinogen. Scientists have also been investigating whether levels of radon found in homes and other places are a significant hazard to health. These studies are now complete and pooled analyses of key studies in Europe, North America and China have confirmed that radon in homes contributes substantially to the occurrence of lung cancers world-wide. Recent estimates of the proportion of lung cancers attributable to radon range from 6 to 15%. The pooling studies all agree on the magnitude of the risk estimates.

Will it really hurt me?

EPA already has a wealth of scientific data on the relationship between radon exposure and the development of lung cancer. Health authorities like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Surgeon General , the American Lung Association, the American Medical Association, and others agree that we know enough now to recommend radon testing and to encourage public action when levels are above 4 pCi/L.

Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer and is a serious public health problem.Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. On January 13, 2005, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the U.S. Surgeon General, issued a national health advisory on radon. Visit for more on a study by Dr. William Field on radon-related lung cancer in women.

In the Southwest U.S. and in Port Hope, Ontario, many homes and schools were built using sand-like tailings from uranium mines as construction material. Some of these buildings ended up with radon levels higher than those permitted in mines. Similar (though less severe) radon problems arose in Florida and Newfoundland when phosphate tailings were used for construction.

Source: Uranium: The Deadliest Metal

The recent pooled analysis of key European studies estimated that the risk of lung cancer increases by 16% per 100 Bq/m3 increase in radon concentration. The dose-response relation seems to be linear without evidence of a threshold, meaning that the lung cancer risk increases proportionally with increasing radon exposure.

Radon Europe
Radon Australia
Radon China

The slow progress to safety

From the results of the same study, when a non-smoker is exposed to radon concentrations of 0, 100 and 400 Bq/m3, the risk of lung cancer by age 75 years will be about 4, 5 and 7 in a 1000, respectively. However, for those who smoke, the risk of lung cancer is about 25 times greater, namely 100, 120 and 160 in a 1000, respectively. Most of the radon-induced lung cancer cases occur among smokers.

Radon - the Killer in Tobacco

Guidelines for concentrations of radon in air and water
Most countries have adopted a radon concentration of 200–400 Bq/m3 for indoor air as an Action or Reference Level above which mitigation measures should be taken to reduce the level in homes. Other countries have chosen higher or lower Action Levels. The choice of Action Levels generally has been based on the concept of acceptable risk, i.e. these levels are thought to represent population health risks similar to other everyday risks.

Concerning drinking water, the 2004 WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality and the European Commission recommend that controls - for example repeat measurements - should be implemented if radon in public drinking-water supplies exceeds 100 Bq/l. The United States has proposed a Maximum Contaminant Level for radon of 150 Bq/l for private water supplies. For public or commercial water supplies, the European Commission recommends that remedial action be taken if the radon level exceeds 1000 Bq/l. A tap water radon concentration of 1000 Bq/l contributes 100 to 200 Bq/m3 to indoor air and thus corresponds to the indoor air radon Action Levels discussed above.

A San Francisco company ushered in a craze in radioactive health crocks in 1912, when it was granted a patent for "Revigorator". This device saturated water with radon and people were advised to drink six or more glasses each day. "Radithor", a quack radon potion to cure sexual dysfunction and everything else, was introduced in 1925. After several years, people started dying of the effects of this potion. The manufacturer and user of Radithor died 14 years later of bladder cancer. No warnings to the public were ever issued.

Hundreds of thousands of health-conscious Americans drank bottled water laced with radium as a general elixir, known popularly as "liquid sunshine." Soon, radioactive toothpaste was marketed, then radioactive skin cream. Chocolate bars containing radium were sold as a "rejuvenator." As recently as 1952, LIFE magazine wrote about the beneficial effects of inhaling radioactive radon gas in Montana mines. Even today, people visit the radon-filled mines and report multiple benefits. However, numerous studies have concluded that the only demonstrable health effect of inhaling radon is lung cancer.

Dealing with radon in homes
Radon levels in indoor air can be lowered in a number of ways, from sealing cracks in floors and walls to increasing the ventilation rate of the building. The five principal ways of reducing the amount of radon accumulating in a house are:

•Improving the ventilation of the house and avoiding the transport of radon from the basement into living rooms;
• Increasing under-floor ventilation;
• Installing a radon sump system in the basement;
• Sealing floors and walls; and
• Installing a positive pressurization or positive supply ventilation system.
Radon safety should be considered when new houses are built, particularly in high radon areas. In Europe and the United States, the inclusion of protective measures in new buildings has become routine for some builders and - in some countries - has become a mandatory procedure. Passive systems of mitigation have been shown to be capable of reducing indoor radon levels by up to 50%. When radon ventilation fans are added (active system) radon levels can be reduced further.

Radon is easy to detect and relatively easy to control. Radon test kits for homeowners are easy to use and provide accurate readings of home radon levels.

When our neighbors found radon readings of around 20 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) in their home, we decided to test our home, too.

The EPA ( states that exposure to radon gas is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. They recommend that homeowners correct any radon level of 4 pCi/L or above

Why did we buy a radon detector instead of using test kits?

Since it was recommended that we test in at least two spots, we considered buying a couple of test kits at the local Home Depot.

Then I did some Internet research and found that, for about the same cost as two or three test kits, lab fees, and postage charges, we could buy this electronic detector that would give us a digital read-out 48 hours after plugging it in. Plus, it will continue to monitor our radon levels, and we can move it around to test different places in our home. We don't have to send samples to a lab, and we will know our home's radon gas level on an ongoing basis.

That made a lot of sense to me--especially since the neighbor’s first set of lab results were invalid because the lab received the samples too many days after collection. They had to get more test kits, and pay express mail charges to get them to the lab in time for valid results.


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P.O. Box 42419
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Radon Maps