Radon Essay

1554 words - 6 pages

this report deals with a toxic gas "radon" witch is a great problem in the world causing thousands of deaths every year do to lung cancer noneRadonRadon is a naturally occurring radioactive element that can be found in soil, underground water, and outdoor air. Some of the properties of this gas include being odorless, tasteless, and colorless. The concentrations vary throughout the country depending on the types of rocks that are found in the soil. Exposure over prolonged periods of time to radon decay products has been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer.(3) The EPA describes an elevated concentration as being at or above their suggested guidelines of 4pCi/l (pico Curies per liter, used as a radiation unit of measure for radon). Exposures below this level may create a risk of lung cancer, farther reductions to lower levels may be too difficult or even impossible to achieve.(4)Radon enters buildings through: exposed soil in crawl spaces, through cracks, openings in floors, and through below grade walls and floors. This is the primary source of elevated radon levels in buildings.(5) Outdoor air contains radon, but it is in extremely low concentrations therefore it is not a health hazard. Some wells contain water that has radon dissolved in it. This can be a hazard if the water is agitated or heated, allowing the gas to escape and elevate the levels that are in the building.(6)Health RiskThe Surgeon General's office reports that indoor radon gas is a national health problem. This gas causes thousands of deaths every year.(7) These deaths are a result of lung cancer, which is caused by the radioactive particles that make up the gas.(8) The likelihood of getting lung cancer from radon depends on: the concentration that you are exposed to, the amount of time that you are exposed, and whether you smoke or not. The radioactive particles are inhaled when we breathe, and become trapped in the lungs. Once in the lungs they release small amounts of energy that can damage the tissue of the lungs which in turn can cause cancer.(9)Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, with smoking being number one according to the Surgeon Generals office.(10) Smoking greatly increases the risk of getting lung cancer. Non smokers are allot less likely to get lung cancer from radon than smokers.(11) Radon is a big problem because a majority of the population spends most of its time indoors. This increases the amount of time that they are exposed, and the likelihood that they will get lung cancer.(12)Where Radon OriginatesRadon is created by the radioactive decay of uranium found in rocks, soil, and water. Uranium and its by products of decay, namely radon are abundant and are constantly being generated.(13) Radon is capable of easily traveling through rocks and soil.(14) The gas is also found dissolved in water, due to decay in the soil or rock below.(15)Radon in WaterThe risk from radon in water is much lower than the risk from radon in air. This is...

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