Radon at Home

by Jerry D. Lowry, Assoc. Prof.; Civ. Engr. Dept., 455 Aubert, Univ. of Maine, Orono, ME 044669,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1987, Vol. 57, Issue 2, Pg. 44-47

Document Type: Feature article


Radon-222 is a radioactive gas that is present in all homes and found in several million homes in the U.S. at levels that have medical experts concerned about its potential to cause lung cancer. It enters households with normal soil gas and/or ground water supplies and builds to levels far above present day uranium mine standards. Mitigation of high ²²²Rn levels include preventing entry of soil gas, ventilation, and water treatment, and these methods can produce safe levels in virtually all cases. Granular activated carbon (GAC) has been found to be especially effective for mitigation of ²²²Rn found in private household water supplies. Because of the extremely small mass and short half life of radon, a GAC bed can last for many years. For small public water supplies, in the range of 10,000 to 20,000 gal/d, GAC and aeration are competitive; however, for large public water supplies packed tower aeration is the most cost-effective alternative.

Subject Headings: Soil gas | Water supply | Radon | Soil water | Soil treatment | Water treatment | Aeration | Diseases

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