Radon and VOCs
RADON GAS
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep into your home or business through cracks or holes in the basement walls and floor. Radon gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Much of the New York region has elevated levels of radon due to high amounts of granite bedrock. Risk depends on how much and how long you have been exposed to radon gas, which is believed to be the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

LUNG CANCER AND RADON EXPOSURE
Radon represents a far smaller risk than cigarette smoking for this disease, but it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Scientists estimate that 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year are related to radon.  Exposure to the combination of radon gas and cigarette smoke creates a greater risk of lung cancer than exposure to either factor alone. The majority of radon-related cancer deaths occur among smokers. However, it is estimated that more than 10 percent of radon-related cancer deaths occur among nonsmokers.
 
HOW DOES RADON ENTER MY HOME OR BUILDING?
It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your building through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your building traps radon inside, where it can build up.  Radon levels in buildings can fluctuate. Levels can be affected by a number of factors, including weather, soil moisture, and air pressure. Differences in the air pressure inside the building compared to air pressure outside of the building can create a vacuum, called an air pressure differential, which draws radon into the building. Normal activities such as using the furnace, the bathroom fan, a whole house fan, or the clothes dryer will pull air into the building, which contributes to air pressure differentials.
Radon has been found in all types of homes, including:
  • Old and New Buildings
  • Well Sealed & Energy Efficient Buildings
  • Drafty & Leaky Buildings
  • Buildings with Basements
  • Buildings with Slab Construction
  • Buildings with Crawlspaces
RADON AND BUILDING MATERIALS
Some natural building materials, such as granite, stone and some concrete products, can give off very small amounts of radon. However, building materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves. Radon gas in soils is the primary source of radon in buildings. If your building has natural building products, including granite countertops, it will generally not contribute a significant amount of radon to the air in your building. If you still wish to test your granite countertops or other material, there are specific granite test kits that can be performed.

RADON AND WATER
It can also dissolve into our water supply.  While most radon-related deaths are due to radon gas accumulated in houses from seepage through cracks in the foundation, 30 to 1,800 deaths per year are attributed to radon from household water. High levels of dissolved radon are found in the groundwater in some areas flowing through granite or granitic sand and gravel formations. If you live in an area with high radon in groundwater it can get into your private well. Showering, washing dishes, and laundering can disturb the water and release radon gas into the air you breathe.

VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCs)
Organic vapors or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are found in many household products, including: paints; paint strippers and other solvents; wood preservatives; aerosol sprays; cleansers and disinfectants; moth repellents and air fresheners; stored fuels and automotive products; hobby supplies; and dry cleaned clothing. VOCs vary in their potential to affect health. Possible health effects of exposure include: irritation to eyes, nose and throat; damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system; and cancer.

MEDICAL HEALTH EFFECTS OF INDOOR AIR POLLUTION
Indoor air pollution can affect you at home, work, or even places you visit. It can increase your risk of a respiratory disease, such as asthma, allergies, and lung cancer. Indoor air pollution can be worse in winter, when windows are shut tight and less fresh air can circulate. Chemicals can enter the body through three major pathways (breathing, touching or swallowing). This is referred to as exposure. No matter how dangerous a substance or activity is, it cannot harm you without exposure.
Whether or not a person will have health effects after breathing in VOCs or RADON depends on:
  • The toxicity of the chemical (amount of harm that can be caused by contact with the chemical).
  • How much of the chemical is in the air.
  • How long and how often the air is breathed.
Differences in age, health condition, gender and exposure to other chemicals also can affect whether or not a person will have health effects.  Short-term exposure to high levels of some VOCs can cause headaches, dizziness, light-headedness, drowsiness, nausea, and eye and respiratory irritation. These effects usually go away after the exposure stops.

COMMON PRODUCTS THAT PRODUCE VOCs
  • Fuel containers or devices using gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil and products with petroleum distillates: paint thinner, oil-based stains and paint, aerosol or liquid insect pest products, mineral spirits, furniture polishes.  Possible VOC Ingredients: BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), hexane, cyclohexane, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene.
  • Personal care products: nail polish, nail polish remover, colognes, perfumes, rubbing alcohol, hair spray.  Possible VOC Ingredients: Acetone, ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, methacrylates (methyl or ethyl), ethyl acetate.
  • Dry cleaned clothes, spot removers, fabric/leather cleaners.  Possible VOC Ingredients: Tetrachloroethene (perchloroethene (PERC), trichloroethene (TCE).
  • Citrus (orange) oil or pine oil cleaners, solvents and some odor masking products.  Possible VOC Ingredients: d-limonene (citrus odor), a-pinene (pine odor), isoprene.
  • PVC cement and primer, various adhesives, contact cement, model cement.  Possible VOC Ingredients: Tetrahydrofuran, cyclohexane, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), toluene, acetone, hexane, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, methyl-iso-butyl ketone (MIBK).
  • Paint stripper, adhesive (glue) removers.  Possible VOC Ingredients: Methylene chloride, toluene, older products may contain carbon tetrachloride.
  • Degreasers, aerosol penetrating oils, brake cleaner, carburetor cleaner, commercial solvents, electronics cleaners, spray lubricants.  Possible VOC Ingredients: Methylene chloride, PERC, TCE, toluene, xylenes, methyl ethyl ketone, 1,1,1-trichloroethane.
  • Moth balls, moth flakes, deodorizers, air fresheners.  Possible VOC Ingredients: 1,4-dichlorobenzene, naphthalene
  • Refrigerant from air conditioners, freezers, refrigerators, dehumidifiers.  Possible VOC Ingredients: Freons (trichlorofluoromethane, dichlorodifluoromethane).
  • Aerosol spray products for some paints, cosmetics, automotive products, leather treatments, pesticides.  Possible VOC Ingredients: Heptane, butane, pentane.
  • Upholstered furniture, carpets, plywood, pressed wood products.  Possible VOC Ingredients: Formaldehyde.
     
RADON REMOVAL AND VOC MITIGATION
Reliable reduction techniques have been developed that effectively control radon and VOCs in buildings. Finding a building with a radon system already installed is a plus.  Having a system installed is affordable and effective, and may enhance future resale value.  Radon and VOCs can be reduced!  Just as a water drainage problem can be fixed with a sump pump or a leaky roof can be repaired, a mitigation system can be installed to reduce the contaminant and at far less cost than many other building repairs.  A professionally installed mitigation system will actively draw gases from beneath a building and exhaust it safely outside.  Rest assured with the help of BECG that your dream property will only be enhanced with a properly designed and installed mitigation system.

WHY CHOOSE US?
  • Professional systems that are properly fitted and installed for a long useful life.
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  • Large resource of equipment and labor to get the job done right and efficient.
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