Radon is a tasteless, odourless gas that is highly radioactive. It is a chemical element having a symbol of Rn. Radon occurs naturally as a decay product of Radium and Uranium. Radon is considered a health hazard due to its radioactivity. It is responsible for the public’s exposure to ionizing radiation. It is usually found in confined places such as attics and basements and buildings. Over exposure to this gas can lead to lung cancer and other pulmonary diseases.
Because of its tasteless, odourless nature, Radon testing must be done to ensure health of those people that might be exposed to it. It is highly recommended to do a radon testing in homes especially when buying or selling or constructing a home. Radon testing can be done on short-term or long-term basis. Short-term Radon testing is beneficial when you need to know the result immediately. It may last for two to ninety days. Long-term testing on the other hand may be a little longer for about three months or more. Long term Radon testing may give you more accurate results plus a year round radon levels.
There are two categories for Radon Testing devices, active and passive. Passive testing devices are those devices that require no electrical power. It generally traps Radon and is later analyzed in the laboratories. Unlike passive devices, an active device requires energy for it to trap radon and includes continuous monitoring devices. It is also relatively expensive than passive devices. It also requires a well-trained professional to operate the device.
Passive radon testing devices include alpha track detectors, charcoal liquid scintillation detectors, charcoal canisters, alpha track detectors and electret ion detectors. Alpha track detectors use a film that absorbs alpha particles released by radon and this film is treated in the lab to make the tracks visible. Charcoal liquid scintillation detectors and charcoal canisters, on the other hand, naturally absorbs radon and is later on analyzed in the laboratory. It is counted and tabulated. Lastly, the electret ion detectors have a Tellon disc that is electrically charged. If an ion generated from radon decay strikes the Tellon, the charge is reduced. Radon is then measured by how much the Tellon disc charge has reduced.
The average radon in a home should be 1.25 picocuries/liter of air (pCi/L) or less. If radon reaches 4 pCi/L or greater, some actions should be undertaken to reduce radon levels. The main solution is to ventilate the room. If radon levels reach 3.5 pCi/L, Radon testing should be repeated.