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Daniel Roak

Radiation Pioneer – Marie Curie

By | Radon Education | No Comments

Marie Curie was born on November 7, 1867 in Warsaw, Poland. She was the youngest of 5 children and both of her parents were well known teachers. In 1891, Curie enrolled in physics, chemistry, and mathematics at the University of Paris.

Discovery of Polonium and Radium

Starting in 1896, Curie began running tests on uranium rays. She performed her tests using an electrometer. As a result, Curie would soon learn that uranium rays conduct electricity in the air around them. Thus, she hypothesized that radiation was not caused by interactions between atoms but from the atom itself. Curie’s findings were a crucial step in proving that atoms were divisible.

In 1898 Curie found two new elements. Polonium was the first and named for her home country Poland. Followed by Radium, named for the Latin word radius, meaning ray. Additionally, Curie coined the term “radioactivity”, due to the electrical contact between the new elements and the air around them.

In 1903, Curie was awarded a Nobel Prize in physics. She was the first woman to ever win a Nobel Prize. Shortly after, Curie took a job as physics chair at the University of Paris. She became the university’s first woman professor. In 1909, fearing that Curie would quit, the University of Paris helped Curie to create the Radium Institute. It was here that Curie was able to isolate radium. Furthermore, she defined an international standard for radioactive emissions named for her late husband, the curie.

Marie Curie was awarded a second Noble Prize in 1911. This time for chemistry and her discovery of polonium and radium. Curie was the first person to receive 2 Nobel Prizes. To this day she is still 1 of only 2 people to achieve this.

Death

Marie Curie passed away at the age of 66. The harmful effects of radiation were not known at this time. Thus, Curie had no idea the toll her studies were taking on her. Handling radium and performing x-rays during the war ultimately lead to her death. In 1995, her remains were moved to Parthenon in Paris. Curie became the first woman to be honored with interment in the Parthenon. As of 2015, 3 woman have had this honor.

To this day, Curie’s papers from 1890 are still considered to dangerous to handle. Therefore, they are held in special lead lined boxes. Due to their level of contamination, people wishing to read them must wear special protective clothing.

Radon and Alpha Track Tests

While studying radium, a gas was found emanating from the atom. Radon, became the fifth radioactive element discovered. Moreover, radon gas kept its radioactivity. Consequently, radon was given a Group 1 carcinogenic grade. Simply put, it is known that radon causes cancer..

Radonova manufactures alpha track radon tests. Devices are made of a plastic housing and a CR39 chip. Detectors are placed in homes, schools, and workplaces. Air containing radon enters the detector. Alpha particles leave the atom at a such a speed they leave tracks on the CR39.

Similarly, radon is inhaled in the air we breathe. Thus, particles will damage lung tissue when leaving the atom in your lungs. For that reason, radon is the highest leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

University of Calgary Radon Study – Ted Talk

By | Radon Education | No Comments

Dr. Aaron Goodarzi is the head of the Evict Radon program through the University of Calgary. For the past few years they have provided radon test kits to Alberta residents for research pertaining to DNA damage and how that can cause and predict cancer.

Recently, Dr. Goodarzi gave an excellent Tedx talk on radon gas and his project. In a well delivered presentation he makes the dangers of living in a home with high radon levels very clear and easy to understand. Sometimes the bigger message of radon causing lung cancer is glossed over when scientists talk science to other scientists and the average resident or homeowner, the people most susceptible to this Class 1 carcinogen, often do not fully grasp the dangers or what exactly a high radon level means for them and their families.

Without pulling any punches on the severity of lung cancer, Dr. Goodarzi compellingly addresses radon in a manner digestible by everyone from the sharpest person in the room to the person hearing about radon gas for the first time.

More Information on the Study

Radonova Kick Off 2018 – Berlin

By | Radonova News | No Comments

Sorry we missed a blog last week – we were in Europe meeting with some of our European coworkers for Radonova’s 2018 Kickoff in Berlin. It was a great week filled with educational sessions, sightseeing, a lot of history, team-building, and spending some quality time with many of our global colleagues.
Take a look at some of the photos our US team captured throughout the fun-filled week.

 

See More Pics Here!

Successful BC First Nations Radon Test Project with Assistance from ‘My Pages’

By | Radon Education | No Comments

Created in 2013, the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) in British Columbia, is a first of its kind Indigenous-led health service delivery organization that works closely with federal and provincial partners to integrate health programs for “healthy, self-determining, and vibrant BC First Nations children, families, and communities.” With radon awareness steadily growing in British Columbia, FNHA decided to begin testing on-reserve homes and has completed the second phase of a residential radon monitoring project to gather data and create awareness within its reserve communities. Currently there is little information available about the impact of radon on health for on-reserve populations but many high radon risk factors are present in the communities including poorer housing conditions.

400 test kits were deployed through this program with over half being deployed directly in FNHA’s Interior Region. Utilizing Radonova’s proprietary RadOnline customer web portal (radonova.com/mypages), the project team achieved an astounding 92% response rate.  Reported results indicate that over 10% of the homes tested have elevated radon levels above Health Canada’s guideline of 200 Bq/m³.

This testing project was conducted with assistance from the Public Health Agency of Canada through the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health, with significant outreach performed by the Interior Health Authority’s Environmental Health Officer, Greg Baytalan, and truly made possible by the contributions of the First Nations communities and staff.

Read the First Nations Report Here

Radon Entry Points – Basement

By | Radon Education | No Comments
Below Grade Windows
Sump Pump
Cracks in Foundation Walls
Footing
Cracks in Concrete Slab
Floor Drains
Support Posts

Many homes have basement areas. Whether finished or not there is always a potential for radon to enter your home through the basement. Not all homes will have every radon entry point shown, but the image shows the most common ones. Any one of these entry points could contribute to a high radon gas level in the home.

Testing for radon is the only  way to know if your home has high levels of dangerous radon gas, a class A carcinogen that causes lung cancer.

Test Your Home Today!

USA Gold Medalist Beats Radon-Induced Lung Cancer

By | Radon News | No Comments

In 2016, Rachael Drazan-Malmberg woke up with pain in her ribs. She initially attributed the pain to working out, however after the pain persisted she sought medical attention.

What she believed “wasn’t going to be anything” revealed a diagnosis of lung cancer that had even already spread to her brain. After the doctors told her the cancer was unusual and caused by a genetic mutation versus being inherited, Rachael and her husband tested their home for radon gas. Immediately they installed a mitigation system and their situation prompted 3 of their neighbors to test and mitigate as well, after finding high levels of radon gas.

Not sparing any time, Rachael had the doctors “pull the goalie” and attack the cancer with everything they had. After hours and hours of radiation treatment the tumor in her lung was small enough to be removed. Then, with the help of additional medications, she was able to eliminate her brain tumor as well.

Just two years after her diagnosis, Rachael was able to compete in the 2018 Olympics and help the Team USA Women’s Hockey Team take home the gold medal.

Read the Full Article Here!

Vintage Illuminated Watches, Clocks and Dials Emitting Radon

By | Radon News | No Comments

In the first decade of the 20th century, scientists developed a way to mix radium 226 with paint to created ‘radioluminescent paint’. Everyone was fascinated by this discovery leading to the application of the paint to clocks, telephones, and even airplane instrumentation panels, enabling the devices to be seen in the dark.

However the new found idea was not without its issues, and by 1925 a group of radium painters, later referred to as the Radium Girls, sued their employer over health issues believed to be stemming from the ingestion of radium through a practice called ‘pointing’ their brushes. Simply put they would lick the ends of the brushes to refine the bristles into a point, subsequently ingesting radium remnants from the brush. As a result, by 1930 ‘pointing’ brushes was no longer done by mouth and incidences of malignancy due to radium was down to zero by 1950. This lead most people to believe that radium was not an issue, unless of course you consumed it.

Fast forward  60 years – researchers from the University of Northampton understand that radium decays into radon gas, so could “vintage” clocks, watches, phones, etc., previously coated in radium paint influence radon gas levels as the radium naturally decays?

The study was performed in a small bedroom and consisted of measuring the radon gas level for a baseline, then adding 30 radium dial watches to the room to see how much the radon level would change, if at all. Upon retesting it was discovered that the room’s radon level rose to 134 times the EPA recommended action level.

In the first of its kind study, this new data indicates a previously unconsidered risk to owning, collecting, and storing radium dial watches or other items that were typically coated in radium-infused paint.

Read the Original Article Here
Link to University of Northampton's Report

Simon Fraser University Radon Study

By | Radon News | No Comments

Anne-Marie Nicol, a public health researcher and associate professor at Simon Fraser University is creating awareness to get residents of British Columbia testing their homes for radon gas.

Radon gas is “the worst thing you’ve never heard of” says Nicol, but “nobody’s talking about it. How are people supposed to know?” Residents of the North Shore in cities like North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Whistler, Pemberton, Squamish, the Sunshine Coast and the Gulf Islands are encouraged to test as previous reported radon test performed in and around these areas have often times indicated radon gas levels 5 times Canada’s guideline for indoor radon (200 bq/m³).

Projects currently underway spearheaded by Anne-Marie are aimed at gathering more data from potential at-risk areas and at changing public complacency to a serious health risk.

Additional Information About the Study and the Full Article Can Be Read Here!

Finding Certified Radon Professionals

By | Radon Testing | No Comments

When researching for potential radon measurement specialists to perform a radon test on your home of workplace, or for mitigation contractors to install a radon mitigation system, where should you begin? Roughly 30 years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified individuals who had gone through specific training and courses on radon and listed them as “EPA RPP Certified” radon professionals. Several years later the EPA decided to eliminate their national certification program and direct individual states to create radon programs that would mandate who could test and/or mitigate for radon. Regrettably many states currently do not have a radon program or certifying body to inform residents who can perform a radon testing or radon mitigation within their state. A quick search online of your state and/or their health department radon program will let you know if your state has any radon certification program.

However, we want to focus on the states that currently do not manage a state radon program. How can residents in these states find professional and knowledgeable companies? What are the different certifications? Where can I find someone to test/mitigate my home?

Two major national certification programs fulfill this need.  They are are the National Radon Safety Board (NRSB) and the AARST National Radon Proficiency Program (AARST NRPP). Both of these organizations certify radon measurement specialists and mitigation contractors and/or radon laboratories and testing devices. On either of these websites you can search for professionals by state and filter by city or zip code to find certified individuals near your home that offer radon services.

A few things to remember:

  • Being on or not being on either of these lists does not speak to the quality of a individuals work. Many un-certified testers and contractors have been doing exceptional work for years and can be considered experts at their trade. These lists simply state that they have taken courses, utilize proven standards, and continue to evolve with the changing landscape of radon protocols, procedures, and best practices.
  • Even non-certified testers have to use certified devices. If you truly want a certified tester to perform your radon test, be sure that the individual has been certified and not just the device they utilize.
  • Both of these sites have the most up to date information available for their respective certifications. With testers and contractors constantly being added to the list and certifications expiring, certifications should always be confirmed. Neither certification org is permanent,. they require continuing education credits to maintain certification, and renewals.  Just because someone was certified, does mean they still are.  Its always best to confirm.