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Radon Information

to The Public
By: Kevin
Elkin

Background Information
Friedrich Ernst Dorn, a German chemist, discovered radon
in 1900Radon (Radon-222) has an atomic number of 86
meaning that it has 86 protons 86 electrons and 136
neutrons (when it is not an ion). The atomic mass of on
atom of radon is approximately 222 atomic mass units
(amu). When the element Radium-226 decays it forms
Radon-222. Radon is classified as a non-metal and is in
group 18 (the noble gasses) and period 6. Radon has a
melting point of -71 degrees Celsius or -96 degrees
Fahrenheit. It has a boiling point at -61.7 degrees Celsius
or -79.1 degrees Fahrenheit.When cooled to its solid state,
radon glows yellow. The glow becomes orange-red as the
temperature is lowered.From this, I can safely conclude
that Radon would thus be a gas at room temperature.

Background Information
This model depicts a Radon
atom showing that it has an
atomic mass of 222 amu
and 86 protons, 86
electrons, and 132neutrons.
A simple way that I figured
out how to solve for the
number of neutrons was
that I subtracted the atomic
mass (222) from the atomic
number (86) and got the
number of neutrons, which I
found to be 136.

Note: The black circles with the minuses represent


the electrons and contained within the yellow sphere
(nucleus) there are 86 protons and 136 neutrons.

Background Information
Radons most stable isotope is Radon222.

Background Information
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas
found in things such as rocks, solids, and
groundwater. Radon exhibits alpha decay, which
is the largest particle(s) know as alpha particles
(which have 2 protons and 2 neutrons). Although
alpha particles can be blocked by a simple piece
of paper due to their large size, they can still be
harmful, especially in large quantities. If inhaled,
the particles could have drastic effects and can
even cause lung cancer which may ultimately
result in death.

Background Information
Radon-222, the most
common and stable isotope
of Radon, has a half-life of
about 3.8 days in which it
decays into polonium-218
through alpha decay. Alpha
decay is one process that
unstable atoms exhibit to
become more stable. During
alpha decay the nucleus of
an atom losses 2 protons
and 2 neutrons which we call
an alpha particle.

Note: Rn is the element radon-222, Po is plutonium218, and He-4 is the alpha p[article. The alpha particle
and plutonium added together will create the element
radon-222.

Problems and Solutions


In all 50 states excessive radon levels has
been found. In Colorado one in two homes
have a surplus amount of radon, more than
what the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) recommends which is 4 picoCuries of
radon per liter of air. A picoCurie is a unit
used to measure the amount of radiation in a
given area. Also, many homes in Colorado
have cracks and pores for radon to enter.
Lastly, in some places in Colorado radon is in
water.

Problems and Solutions


Radon today is the second leading cause
of lung cancer in the United States (With
smoking being first) causing on average
21,000 lung cancer deaths annually in the
U.S. alone. This is due to the inhalation of
the large, radioactive particles (alpha
particles) that are a biological hazard to
both humans and animals.

Problems and Solutions


Since radon no color, odor or taste and is
chemically static (not moving) it thus
impossible to be detected by using our typical
senses. Specialize equipment must their for be
used to test the amount of radiation in your
house. You could purchase a device such as
the Air Check test for $15. Operation is simple,
since it is a charcoal activated device, it will
tell the user if radiation is present in their
home. Elements that react with radon can also
prove its existence if a change occurs.

Problems and Solutions


Radon can be prevented by making sure all
cracks, openings, and holes are sealed off in
your home. However, this might not be
enough to get rid of all your radon
completely. A variety of methods can be
used to eliminate radon from your home
include sub-slab, drain tile, sump hole, etc.
To purchase and install one of theses it
costs anywhere from $800-$2,500.

Problems and Solutions

Resources Shared To The


Community
If you are looking to get your house tested for
radon you have two options. You can hire a
contractor who deals with radon or you can
purchase a radon test kit and do it yourself. Many
people say that hiring a contractor would be more
beneficial because he is more accurate, precise,
and comes equip with better equipment. I believe
this is true, however contractors are far more
expensive ($800-$1,000)than a testing kit which
is fairly cheap ($15) for the most part. You can
purchase radon kits from your local hardware
store

Resources Shared To The


Community

Radon can enter


your house through
any of the following:
Cracks in solid floors
Construction joints
Cracks in walls
Gaps in suspended
floors
Gaps around service
pipes
Cavities inside walls
The water supply

Since radon also comes from the


natural decay of uranium that is
found in nearly all soils. Radon
typically moves upward from the
ground to the air above. It then
enters your house through cracks
and other holes. This can be avoided
by capping and sealing of any holes
or cracks to best prevent radon from
entering the house. However, radon
may also be present in a water
source (especially well water). The
best way to prevent this is to
contact your water company and ask
for the radon levels. If the levels are
abnormally high, then you should
consider switching to one with little
to no radon. Water radiation
mitigation systems may also be
installed to help decontaminate the
water so it can be radon free.

Resources Shared To The


Community
The average cost for testing your house for radon may vary. To hire a
professional (such as a contractor that deals with radon) scan and
check the house may cost anywhere from $800-$1,000. However, if you
purchase a kit yourself it may only cost $15-$50.
The most commonly used radon mitigation system which is usually the
most effective method, is called sub-slab depressurization. On average,
this costs about $2,000 but may vary depending on the amount of
radon and the way the home was built. This system uses pipes that
extend from a permeable layer below the basement floor (such as
gravel or drain tiles) upward through the structure, venting out the roof.
This device works by collecting the radon gas before it enters the house
and directs it upward through pipes out of the house.
Some radon companies in Colorado that test and get rid of household
radon include Ace Radiation Company (located in Littleton), Rocky
Mountain Radon Control (located in Littleton), and Affordable Radon
(located in Aurora).

Resources Shared To The


Community

Resources Shared To The


Community
Listed bellow are just some websites recommended
by the EPA to help the public expand their knowledge
on radon. These sites also inform one furthermore on
how to prevent radon and what to do if it is present
in ones home. My works citied slide (last slide) also
give all the sites I used to compile this research.
Web Sites:
Colorado Department of Public Health and
Environment: www.coloradoradon.info
National Radon Program Services:www.sosradon.org
Environmental Protection Agency:
www.epa.gov/radon

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Bibliography

http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/ele086.html
http://www.radon.com/radon/radon_facts.html
http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/radon.html
http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDPHE-HM/CBON/1251617510348
http://energy.cr.usgs.gov/radon/georadon/2.html
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/consumer/09953.html
http://www.epa.gov/radon/
http://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/environmental-safety/test-or-remove-ra
don-gas
/