Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Testing Your Home for Radiation

One aspect of home safety that is hardly ever mentioned is that of radiation. Maine has a website that provides information and resources on testing your home for radiation. The website is provided by the Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory of Maine's Department of Health and Human Services. Here is an extract below from the website about the dangers of radon in homes:
"Real estate transactions and health concerns often trigger testing of drinking water for many contaminants. Testing for radioactive elements is often overlooked when considering the numerous tests available. Yet radioactive elements can exist at unsafe levels in both the air in the home and in drinking water from drilled wells.
Radon is a radioactive gas that is formed from naturally occurring elements in the rocks and soil. It can filter through the soil and enter the basement of the home. It can also dissolve in the water and be released to the air in the home as you use the water. Radium and uranium, the naturally occurring elements that produce radon, can also dissolve in well water. These elements emit a type of radiation known as alpha radiation. Some people who drink water with high levels of alpha emitters over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer and other health problems.
Radon and other alpha emitters can be detected through laboratory tests. These test kits are available at the Maine Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory and at private laboratories. A list of laboratories can be obtained from the Radiation Control Program at the DHS Division of Health Engineering. NOTE: State law requires that radon testing in homes other than your own be done by persons registered with the Radiation Control Program. Remember – treatment methods are available which can reduce levels of any of these contaminants to acceptable levels!"

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