Radon in Water – The Dangers of Being Exposed to it
The Danger of Radon in Water
Radon is a radioactive gas with no color, odor or taste. Like helium, it is a noble gas. Radon is created as a byproduct of the breakdown of radioactive elements like thorium and uranium commonly found underground all over the country. This process is known as the radioactive decay chain. Because radon itself also exhibits a high degree of radioactivity, exposure to it can be extremely harmful. Furthermore, radon in water is particularly dangerous due to its tendency to build up inside homes in the New York region. As the elements in the soil beneath a house decay and create radon, the gas can rise into the home through cracks and other abnormalities in the foundation. Inside the home, radon becomes trapped, usually below the third floor, and its levels continue to grow.
Perhaps an even more subtle source of radon gas contamination is from a home’s water supply. Radon can contaminate underground water sources, then enter the house through its plumbing. The gas then escapes from the water into the air whenever you use the water for any purpose, further increasing the levels of radon trapped inside your home.
Overview of Radon in Water
Radon is actually much more dangerous when it is airborne. Comparatively speaking, waterborne radon is not considered very risky, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Airborne radon is considered particularly dangerous, however, because it causes lung cancer, which has a survival rate past five years of only 15 percent. Unfortunately, radon in water can eventually become airborne. In fact, in some contaminated homes, this is the primary source of the air contamination.
The risk of developing cancer increases 100 to 10,000 times when a person is exposed to waterborne radon as opposed to other waterborne chemicals. Water containing radon is largely a threat because the radon escapes the water and becomes trapped in homes, thus becoming the more dangerous airborne radon. However, not all radon escapes from water, which leads to the ingestion of radon, increasing the risk of stomach cancer as well. More than 15,000 lung cancer deaths are caused by airborne radon each year in the United States, while approximately 170 cancer cases are caused by drinking water tainted with waterborne radon — 89 percent of them when radon escaping from water is inhaled, and 11 percent due to drinking the tainted water, resulting in the development of stomach cancer.
The presence of radon in water is treatable, but unfortunately many cases of contamination in the area go undetected due to a simple lack of testing. Have SWAT Environmental’s experts test your home’s radon levels regularly, and if your house is found to be contaminated have them install equipment to address the issue. Aeration systems and granular carbon filtration systems are two effective options to remove radon from water, according to the EPA. SWAT Environmental’s professionals can assess each case to determine how best to correct the problem.