What is Radon – Fredericksburg, Virginia
What is Radon in Fredericksburg, Virginia
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 Virginia, but also throughout the world.
A unit of measurement called picoCuries per liter is used for describing radon gas levels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes guidelines for safe levels in Fredericksburg and throughout the rest of the United States. As long as radon gas 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 is safe.
Elevated Radon Levels Not Uncommon in Fredericksburg
In cities throughout Virginia, including Fredericksburg, it is not uncommon to find elevated levels of radon due to large deposits of uranium in the soil. Uranium contains radium, the primary source of radon gas in the environment. As radium breaks down in the soil, houses in Fredericksburg become filled with the emitted radon. Fredericksburg also lies in a region that the EPA has identified as having large volumes of radon in its groundwater. Radon gas enters water supplies from the bedrock and is typically filtered out through public water systems; however, Fredericksburg residents who rely on wells may have high levels in the water in their homes. Radon gas from water can then be easily transferred into the air from everyday activities like bathing and washing dishes and clothing.
Fredericksburg and its surrounding are also in a region that the EPA has deemed a “High Radon Potential Zone.” A private radon monitoring company tested radon levels throughout Virginia to identify places where residents should particularly be concerned about radon. The company concluded that 16 percent of homes in Fredericksburg had radon levels above the EPA’s recommended action level.
Radon Puts Fredericksburg Residents at Health Risks
Breathing in air contaminated with elevated levels of radon gas can cause permanent damage to the lungs. Among nonsmokers, radon gas is the number one cause of lung cancer throughout Fredericksburg and the rest of the United States, cautions the EPA. Radon is also the second leading cause of lung cancer in smokers. Fredericksburg residents at a high risk for lung cancer due to other health problems or their family histories are particularly susceptible to the effects of radon gas.
Health problems from exposure to excessive levels of radon gas do not happen overnight. Homeowners in Fredericksburg can purchase kits to test the air quality in their own homes from hardware stores and home improvement centers, but should only select those kits approved by either the National Radon Safety Board or the National Environmental Health Association. Using one of these tests is the first step toward mitigating the amount of radon in your home.
- Fredericksburg, VA, 22406 USA
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