N.C. Radon Program
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N.C. Radon Program. N.C. Radiation Protection Section Division of Environmental Health DENR. www.ncradon.org. Take in a Deep Breath!. Blow It Out!!!. Dust...Mold Spores...Viruses...Radon...Carbon Dioxide...Oxygen...Germs. Things you just Inhaled!. CAUTION.

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N.C. Radon Program

N.C. Radiation Protection Section

Division of Environmental Health

DENR

www.ncradon.org


Take in a Deep Breath!


Blow It Out!!!


Dust...Mold Spores...Viruses...Radon...Carbon Dioxide...Oxygen...Germs...

Things you

just Inhaled!


CAUTION


What is it?... Where does it come from?...How does it affect me?...How do I prevent it?...

Radon


Sources of Radiation in

the USA


Typical Annual Radiation Exposure ...

360 mrem/yr


Annual Exposure from Common Activities

Smoking

RADON

5000 mrem

200 mrem

Medical

Nuclear Power

<0.05 mrem

53 mrem

Courtesy of David C Howell, Radiation Safety Officer-Wake Forest University-Baptist Medical Center


Radon is a naturally occurring gas emitted from the earth.


Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless,inert,radioactive gas.


It is a naturally occurring gas that enters buildings, homes and the environment from the surrounding soil.

RADON GAS

RADIUM

It comes from the decay of Uranium which decays into Radium and then into Radon gas.

URANIUM


Radon is produced in most soil or rock.

Therefore, ALL homes have some level of radon...

Radon is also found in the outdoor air.


Uranium Decay Chain

UraniumHalf-life: 5 billion yrs

RadiumHalf-life: 30 seconds

Radon-222:

Half-life: 3.8 days

Bismuth-214, polonium-218 & 214, and lead-214

Half-life: very short (less than 30 minutes)


These decay products account for major portion of radiation dose received in the lungs.

Bismuth-214, Polonium-218 & 214, and Lead-214

Half-life: very short (less than 30 minutes)


  • Alpha Radiation ()

    • Particle released when the nucleus kicks out 2neutrons and 2 protons

    • Relatively massive

    • Relatively slow

    • Total charge of +2

a

Mass number changes by 4 and atomic number changes by 2


b

  • Beta Radiation ()

    • Particle released when the nucleus changes a neutron into a proton and a beta particle

    • Relatively small mass

    • Relatively fast moving

    • Total charge of -1

P

N

Atomic Mass Number remains constant


g

  • Gamma Radiation ()

    • Pure energy. Released from the nucleus when an alpha or a beta is emitted

    • No mass

    • Speed of light

    • No charge

NO CHANGE


Courtesy of David C Howell, Radiation Safety Officer-Wake Forest University-Baptist Medical Center


What is the big deal

with these alpha

particles?


Plastic chip from passive radon test (alpha track)

Magnified only 100 times

3 months at EPA Action Level of 4 pCi/L

Alpha Particles Are Strong

Enough To

Pit Plastic!


What Happens When Radon Decay

Products Are Inhaled?

  • Highly radioactive particles (RDP’s) stick to lung tissue, where they can irradiate sensitive cells.

  • Radiation can alter the cells, sometimes damaging the DNA of the lung cells, thus increasing the potential for cancer.

Image from: www.hipusa.com/eTools/webmd/A-Z_Encyclopedia/lungcancerbasics.htm


Danger of Radon

Radon Exposure is

the Second Leading

Cause of

Lung Cancer!

Image from: //health.allrefer.com/health/cancer-lung-cancer-frontal-chest-x-ray.html


Lung Cancer Risks Due to Radon

  • Depends largely on:

    • Quantity of Radon

    • Amount of time spent in home

    • Smoker vs Non-Smoker


Risks for Smokers...

Source: “A Citizen’s Guide to Radon (Fourth Edition)” EPA, 5/2002


Risks for Non-Smokers...

Source: “A Citizen’s Guide to Radon (Fourth Edition)” EPA, 5/2002


Radon Action Levels...


Radon is a National Problem...


Radon is a North Carolina Problem...


Radon Prevalence in NC

Mountains

Piedmont

Coastal

Zone 1: Highest Potential

(> 4 pCi/L)

Zone 2: Moderate Potential

(2-4 pCi/L)

Zone 3: Low Potential

(< 2 pCi/L)


Now that we know sources of Radon...

How Does it get into my Home?


Radon entry depends on...

Air movement through soil

Also through some building materials (ie. Concrete) that have the potential to contain and emit Radon.

Through well water

Cracks in foundations


Fight Radon

Induced

Lung Cancer!

Encourage Radon Testing!


Everyone Should

Test for Radon!

0.3 pCi/L

4.8 pCi/L

6.8 pCi/L

10.0 pCi/L

1.2 pCi/L

0.5 pCi/L

2.1 pCi/L

1.4 pCi/L


Where can I get a Radon Detection Kit?

  • Hardware Stores

  • Internet


How much do Radon Detection Kits

cost?

Average Costs:

Short-Term Kits: $10-$20

Long-Term Kits: $15-$25


Short-Term Testing Devices


Continuous Monitoring Devices


My Results are above 4 pCi/L...

What do I do now?

Repeat the test in the same location.(If possible repeat with a Long-Term Test)

If the second test is above 4 pCi/L…

Call a certified Radon Mitigator


What is Radon Mitigation?

Method of removing Radon from the home via ventilation through a PVC pipe and out above the roof.


What Does

A Mitigation

System Do?


Close-up of fan apparatus


What it Looks Like

Underneath It All...


Average Costs of Mitigation

Home Under Construction:

Less than $500


Average Costs of Mitigation

Existing Home:

$500 - $2000


What is a Certified Radon

Mitigator/ Measurement Professional?

Measurement and mitigation contractors certified by NEHA or NRSB have been trained and carry ID cards.


Benefits of Having a Home Mitigated?

  • Decrease the amount of Radon in the home/building

  • Improved Air Quality

    • Decreased moisture

    • Decreased mold and other moisture irritants


Thank you for your attention

Any Questions?


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