Archive for July, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012 @ 04:07 PM
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Waterborne Radon Can Increase Lung Cancer Risks in Bloomington, Indiana

Radon in WaterThe Environmental Protection Agency has determined that waterborne radon, a common problem in Bloomington, Indiana, can increase one’s risk for lung cancer and other health problems. In fact, the EPA has labeled the Bloomington area a red zone for high potential radon contamination.

Radon is a radioactive element that is naturally created during the decay of uranium in the earth’s crust. The geology of Bloomington and most of Indiana leaves it particularly vulnerable to radon creation and therefore to indoor contamination and higher lung cancer risks.

Radon is an inert, dense, single-atom gas that does not interact with chemicals, elements or other particles of radon. It has no color, taste or scent, and it can travel through solid materials. Ground and well water, however, are both particularly common modes of transportation for the particles. When water is released through faucets and appliances, the radon can be released into the air of the home.

Therefore, the radon in the water supply itself is actually not the primary concern. It is estimated that 185 deaths per year occur from ingesting waterborne radon, while between 18,000 and 22,000 deaths per year result from lung cancer due to inhaling airborne radon. The inhalation of radon particles in the air is actually considered to be the second most common cause of lung cancer after smoking.

Level Standards for Radon in Water and in Air

Radon levels are measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L); a single picocurie is 0.037 radioactive disintegrations per second. According to the EPA, 10,000 pCi/L in water equals 1.0 pCi/L in air. The current safety cutoff is 4.0 pCi/L in the air within the home. There are currently no official standards for radon in water, although the EPA is considering implementing a standard of 300 pCi/L for public water supplies.

Bloomington is located within a Zone 1 area for radon. This high risk zoning was assigned because homes in this area consistently contain a predictable average indoor screening level of 4.0 pCi/L or greater.

Testing and Treatment for Waterborne Radon

You can purchase a home test kit for radon from most home supply stores. These kits require you to mail a sample back to a lab to receive your results. You can also have a professional test performed by technicians from SWAT Environmental. If the test results reveal radon levels of 4.0 pCi/L or greater, you will need to have abatements systems installed. Reducing the levels of radon in water supplies is generally accomplished with either an aeration system or a Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filtration system.

An aeration system is usually the preferable option since it prevents the buildup of radiation within the system. It uses an outside-ventilated chamber that mixes water and oxygen to cause the release of the radon particles from the water before it enters your house. A GAC system, on the other hand, filters radon particles from the water before it exits through the tap. SWAT Environmental’s experts will be able to design and install the best system to keep you protected.

Friday, July 20, 2012 @ 03:07 PM
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Waterborne Radon Increases Lung Cancer Risks in Bloomington, Indiana

Radon in Water Bloomington
The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that radon in water increases the risk for a wide variety of health problems for individuals who are exposed to excessively high levels of it — even lung cancer in some cases. This is a particularly serious issue in Bloomington, Indiana, since the area has been labeled as a red zone for high potential radon contamination.



Radon is a radioactive element that is naturally created during the radioactive decay of uranium in the earth’s crust. The geology of Bloomington and most of Indiana leaves it particularly vulnerable to radon creation and contamination and therefore to higher lung cancer risks.



The Dangers of Radon in Water



Radon is an inert, dense, single atom gas that does not interact with chemicals, elements or other radon particles. It is colorless, tasteless and odorless, and can travel through solid materials. Ground and well water are common modes of transportation for radon. When the contaminated water is pumped through faucets and appliances, the radon is released.


Radon in water itself is actually not the primary concern in this situation. It is estimated that 185 deaths per year occur from ingesting waterborne radon. However, as this water gradually releases radon into the air inside the house, the gas’s levels build and become dangerous. Inhaling excessive radon gas results in 18,000 to 22,000 deaths per year from lung cancer. This is considered the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.





Water in Radon and Interior Level Standards



Radon levels are measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L). A picocurie is 0.037 radioactive disintegrations per second. The EPA uses an accepted formula of 10,000 pCi/L in water being equivalent to 1.0 pCi/L in air. The current action standard is 4.0 pCi/L in a home’s air. There are currently no standards for water, although the EPA is considering implementing a standard of 300 pCi/L for public water supplies. A pilot study shows that the average level in public ground water supplies is currently 353 pCi/L.



Bloomington is located within a Zone 1 area for radon. This high risk classification was assigned because houses in the area tend to contain an average indoor radon level above 4.0 pCi/L. 



Testing and Treatment for Radon in Water



Home radon test kits are readily available and fairly easy to use. They require you to mail samples to a lab to receive your results. If you prefer, SWAT Environmental can also handle testing for you. If your house contains more than 4.0 pCi/L, mitigation steps will be necessary.


Dealing with radon in water is usually accomplished with either an aeration system or a Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filter system. An aeration system is preferred for cleaning water supplies as it prevents the buildup of radiation within the system. It uses an outside-ventilated chamber that mixes water and oxygen to cause the release of particles in the chamber, preventing them from entering your home. The GAC system filters particles from water by running it through specialized filters to trap them.

SWAT’s mitigation experts can handle the mitigation process, and can determine whether it is your home’s air or its water that are responsible for the radon contamination. Their work will ensure that your house is protected.