Archive for July, 2012
West Hartford’s Radon in Water Problem
In July of 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency submitted a report to Congress proposing three options for regulating the amount of radon in drinking water. Only the first option, of 4000 pCi/L, offered to regulate radon content that is higher than the atmospheric average. The other two options would require revisions to the Safe Drinking Water Act, which currently does not regulate the levels of radon in drinking water. The proposed regulation of radon in 1991 was derailed by cost of implementation and the greater concern of airborne radon. Wells are also currently not regulated. However, further study and modern technology have made it abundantly clear just how important it is that the issue of radon in water be taken seriously, especially in areas like West Hartford that are vulnerable to the issue.
Where Does Radon in Water Come From?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive substance that can be a major contributing factor to the development of cancer. Radon is created during the gradual breakdown over time of uranium in the soil. During this slow development of radon, some of the gas will filter up through the soil and escape into the open air, where it becomes harmless. Some, however, will contaminate water supplies and wells deep underground. Private wells tend to be particularly vulnerable to this radon in water contamination.
Why is Waterborne Radon Dangerous?
Exposure to elevated radon levels can cause several types of serious health problems, including cancer. Lung cancer is one of the most serious
consequences of long-term radon exposure; even radon in water, when it is released into the air, can contribute to the development of lung cancer when the particles are inhaled. Radon has a short half-life, but it can become dangerous when it is trapped in a home with poor ventilation. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, only smoking causes more cases of lung cancer than exposure to radon. In fact, smoking in a building that contains high radon levels can result in a double threat of lung cancer, leading to an even greater risk than either smoking or radon exposure alone. What Can You Do About
Radon in Water and the EPA
The EPA recommends having your home tested for radon regularly, and having abatement systems installed if your home proves to be contaminated — both processes that SWAT Environmental’s radon specialists can handle for you. Radon levels above 4.0 pCi/L can be dangerous; however, radon reduction systems can reduce your house’s radon levels by up to 99 percent, whether the air or the water in your home is the original cause of the problem. Newer homes may be designed with radon prevention systems preinstalled, but this is not always the case. Regardless of your house’s age, however, regular radon testing is a wise precaution, simply to ensure that you and your family are not unwittingly being put at risk. Do not take unnecessary chances with your health.
- West Hartford, CT, 06119 USA
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