Archive for July, 2012
Waterborne Radon Health Risks in Madison, Wisconsin
Airborne radon has long been a concern due to its undetectable nature and the health risks involved in breathing it; however, until recently, radon’s presence in drinking water was not considered a problem. It has now been established that the biggest threat from radon in water comes from the fact that radon can be released into the air when the water is used. Inhaling radon in excessive amounts can cause lung cancer, and running water that contains radon increases the total level of radon present in the home.
While there is a small chance that drinking radon-contaminated water can cause stomach cancer, the real threat is that airborne radon is released into the air when it is heated or otherwise used. Any time radon contaminated water is used from a faucet, shower or other source, radioactive particles are being released into the home. This means that prolonged use of the contaminated water causes more and more radioactive particles to be released, posing a continually increasing threat to your health. Studies have shown that small amounts of radon are harmless, but that increased levels pose a risk of causing cancer and other serious health conditions.
Risk Factors for Waterborne Radon
If you live in Madison, Wisconsin and get your water from a private well, then the chances of your water containing radon are greatly increased. Almost all drilled wells reach the bedrock where radon can seep into the groundwater and dissolve. If your source of water comes from a reservoir or lake, the chances of being exposed to radon in water are greatly reduced because it is usually released into the air long before reaching the pipes that carry it into your home.
Eliminating Radon in Water
Since you cannot tell when your home’s air or water contains radon on your own, you will need to rely on specialized tests to tell you whether or not you are being exposed to high radon levels. Professional versions of these tests can be performed by a SWAT Environmental specialist. If you prefer, you can also purchase your own home testing kit at most hardware stores. If a test reveals that there is radon present in your well water, the next step is to have SWAT Environmental take steps to eliminate it.
How Radon in Water Affects Health
There are two types of water treatment for radon contamination. The first, and generally most effective, is aeration treatment. Aeration treatment removes 99 percent of the radon in water by mixing large quantities of clean air into it and then dispersing the radon-contaminated air outside the home where it dissipates harmlessly. Another type of treatment is a point-of-use device that eliminates radon at the tap. Of course, this method will not be sufficient to stop airborne particles from entering the home; it only reduces the amount of radon in the actual water coming out of the tap. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to implement the two systems together to ensure that your home is protected.
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