Posts Tagged ‘waterborne radon bloomington’

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.