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Monthly Archives

June 2018

Congrats to the 2018 IL Radon Awareness Poster Winners!

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Congratulations to the winners of the Illinois Poster Contest for Radon Awareness. The American Lung Association in Illinois holds the contest every year with help from the U.S. EPA and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to help spread the awareness of radon gas. Check out the winning posters below, and don’t forget to test your home today for radon gas!

1st Place: Lucy C. from Evanston, IL

2nd Place: Kimberly G. from Arenzville, IL

3rd Place: Lila M. from Vienna, IL

First Radon Cause of Death Classification in North Dakota

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After moving into a new home in Casselton, North Dakota, Judith Antoine began suffering from poor health. Shortly after receiving a chest X-ray, Judith was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, scarring of the lungs. With only a small piece of her lungs working, Judith passed away in November of 2017.

Having given up smoking nearly 30 years prior to her death, her children wanted to know how and why she developed pulmonary fibrosis. Judith’s son Andrew suspected a form of environmental exposure and decided to perform a radon test on the home. When the results of the test were 234 pCi/l, 58 times the recommended indoor level, Andrew “…about fell over” .

Judith’s family is convinced that chronic exposure to radon killed their mother. Dr. Brent Hella, Judiths’s physician, agrees and even went as far as to list her cause of death as pulmonary fibrosis as a consequence of “radon toxicity”. It is believed this is the first classification of radon toxicity on a death certificate in the state of North Dakota.

What Are Alpha Tracks?

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All detectors manufactured by Radonova incorporate alpha track technology (ATD), but what are alpha tracks?

During the process of decaying, alpha particles containing 2 protons and 2 neutrons are released from the atomic nucleus of a radon atom. This particle leaves the nucleus at a blazing 15,000,000 meters per second, or about 5% the speed of light. Due to the particles mass, electric charge, and relatively low velocity, alpha particles are favorites to interact with other atoms and loose their energy pretty quick. Their forward motion can typically be halted within a few centimeters of normal air, as the embedded video shows.

This decay process will occur inside of our detectors. When the alpha particles are released from a radon atom, they collide inside with a CR39 chip and leave a ‘track’ (see images below). These tracks are then chemically etched, counted, and calculated using a custom algorithm to determine the total radon dose collected by the detector.

   Tracks on CR39 chips as seen through a microscope.

The following video shows alpha particles being released from radon atoms in a cloud chamber created within the basement of a home that has a 100 pCi/l average radon level, 25 times the EPA recommended action level!

A New Perspective on Radon Mapping

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Trinity College Dublin performed an indoor radon assessment on 32,000 residences and took a different approach with the findings. Instead of mapping areas based on radon concentration levels, they devised a map indicating ‘Radon Priority Areas’ based on the adverse health effects of radon. The color coding on the map relates to a number of lung cancer cases estimated for a specific area, based on area population and indoor radon levels.

Based on the assessment of homes in Ireland, areas within counties Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Wicklow, Wexford, Kilkenny, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare and Galway are at risk for elevated levels of radon gas. Currently the EU uses the World Health Organization’s action level of 200 Bq/m³, and although some homes tested much higher and lower, typically the results ranged from 21 to 338 Bq/m³.

Approximately 280 of the 2,300 yearly lung cancer cases in Ireland are related to indoor radon exposure. That means indoor radon exposure accounts for over 12% of the most deadly types of cancer cases, lung cancer.

Read the Full Article Here