How to reduce risks associated with indoor Radon gas
The primary health risk from indoor radon gas is caused by inhalation of its short-lived decay products. Radon decay products, (RDP) also known as radon progeny, are radioactive particles which release high energy alpha particles. These particles can damage lung tissue if they radioactively decay between the times they are inhaled and when they are expelled by the lungs during normal clearing process. The normal lung cleaning process can be interfered with by a number of things, including tobacco smoke, which can increase the danger.
Unlike many other air quality problems, which are basically irritants, radon progeny decay in the lungs can produce fatal health results in humans. It is currently estimated that more than 50,000 people a year die from complications due to ingestion of radon progeny in the US and Canada. That number is expected to grow.
Reducing indoor exposure to RDP is most commonly accomplished by reducing the entry of radon gas through the foundation of a building. This technique is known as Active Soil Depressurization (ASD). It works by drawing radon laden gas from beneath the structure and venting it above grade. ASD systems can be very expensive to install and expensive to operate.
The success of an ASD system depends largely on the simplicity of the foundation and the ability to access required areas in homes where foundations are complex or in older homes where crawlspaces are inaccessible for the installation of membranes. In these cases, installation of an ASD system can be difficult and can require expensive renovations prior to its installation.
A leading US Radon research group decided to seek out other cost effective solutions that might work to reduce radon progeny (RDP). They looked to air filtration and specifically Electronic Air Cleaners(EACs), which had already shown themselves to be highly efficient at capturing particles in the size range of RDP .
Four separate tests were conducted……the results were excellent to say the least. In every test, a licensed mechanical contractor was used to install RadonGobblerTM technology equipped Electronic Air Cleaners and verify they were operating correctly within the Forced Air Units (FAU). All FAU’s were set up to ensure their blower units would operate at low speed during periods when heating or cooling was not called for, but at their highest speed when the thermostat called for heating or cooling. This ensured interior air was constantly re-circulated through the filters ensuring particle reduction capability at all times.
Radon and radon decay products were measured using Electret Radon Progeny Integrating Sampling Units. All sampling devices used were deployed and retrieved by an individual certified for their operation and use under the National Environmental Health Association’s National Radon Proficiency program. All measurements were conducted on the lowest level of the test dwellings to comply with US EPA protocols for testing.
The results from the testing clearly show that RadonGobblerTM technology equipped Electronic Air Cleaners are capable of reducing Radon particulate in an indoor environment to levels deemed safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency. To be sure desired results are achieved, it is important to do the following;
- Only install an electronic air cleaner equipped with RadonGobblerTM technology. This is the only EAC proven to reduce radon progeny levels to levels deemed safe by the US EPA.
- Make sure installation is done by a qualified HVAC contactor and be sure the system is configured to ensure continuous air flow past powered, operating filters with clean media 24/7.
- Environments should be tested after the installed system has been running for a few days to ensure safe RDP levels have been achieved. It is strongly recommended testing be performed by individuals qualified to do such work
Indoor Air Quality