What is Radon – Lancaster, Pennsylvania
What is Radon – Lancaster
Radon is a naturally occurring chemical element found in the environment. At the normal range of the Earth’s temperatures, radon is in a gaseous form that cannot be seen, tasted or smelled. Most homes have some level of radon in them, not just in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but also throughout the world.
A unit of measurement called picoCuries per liter is used for describing radon levels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes guidelines for safe levels of radon in Lancaster and throughout the rest of the United States. As long as radon levels remain equal to or less than 4.0 picoCuries per liter, the EPA usually does not recommend taking any action. At higher levels, radon has the potential to cause health problems and needs to be mitigated to ensure that your home in Lancaster is safe for your family.
In Pennsylvania, radon is found in areas that contain deposits of rocks bearing radium and uranium. Lancaster County lies over such deposits, which break down due to the natural effects of weathering and erosion. As a result, radon gas is released into the soil beneath homes in Lancaster and throughout the rest of the region.
Radon in Your Water
Groundwater supplies in the Lancaster area are also to blame for increased radon levels. If you are one of the nearly 1 million Pennsylvania residents who rely on a well, you are more likely to have high radon levels in your water. Radon enters the water in wells from granite and quartz rocks that contain uranium and radium and is then carried into Lancaster area homes through the plumbing.
The EPA establishes certain regions in the Untied States as “High Radon Potential Zones” based upon their geology, and Lancaster lies in one such area. A private radon monitoring company tested radon levels throughout eastern Pennsylvania and found that homes in Lancaster County had an average radon level reading of 14.0 picoCuries per liter, more than 3 times the action level for radon gas recommended by the EPA.
Health risks Associated With Radon
Breathing in air contaminated with elevated levels of radon gas can cause permanent damage to the lungs, cautions the EPA. Among nonsmokers, radon gas is the number one cause of lung cancer throughout Lancaster and the rest of the United States. Radon is also the second leading cause of lung cancer in smokers. Lancaster residents at a high risk for lung cancer due to other health problems or family history are particularly susceptible to the effects of radon.
Health problems from exposure to excessive levels of radon gas do not happen overnight. Homeowners in Lancaster can purchase home testing kits for radon levels at local hardware centers and home improvement stores, but should use caution to only purchase kits approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Finding out that your home has elevated radon levels is the first step toward eliminating the threat of this potentially deadly gas.
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